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Mass in Lisbon 1 p.m. ET
Meeting with the world of culture 5 a.m. ET
Arrival in Fatima & Vespers 12:30 p.m. ET
Blessing of the Candles and Rosary 4:30 p.m. ET
Mass in Fatima 5 a.m. ET
Mass in Porto 5 a.m. ET
Papal Visit to Cyprus
June 4 - June 6, 2010
Papal Visit to Great Britian
September 16 - September 19, 2010
Portugal – Republic in west of the Iberian peninsula:
capital, Lisbon. Christianity was introduced before the 4th century.
From the 5th to 8th centuries, the Church endured the invasion of
barbarians and the spread of heresies (Arianism, Priscillianism and
Pelagianism). The Moors ruled from 711, and were not fully expelled
until 1249. In 1139, Portugal became an independent kingdom. In the
15th century, her great explorers (de Gama, Cabral, et al) brought a
large overseas empire. Her missionaries carried the Faith to
overseas colonies, in India, Africa, and South America. The
Reformation in the 16th and 17th centuries had no effect in
Portugal, since the Church there had already undergone serious
reform. However, in the 18th century, political tensions developed
with the papacy, with religious ramifications. Royal approval was
required for papal acts. The Jesuits were expelled from Portugal and
the colonies. In the 19th century, liberal revolutionaries made life
difficult for the Church. Likewise in the 20th century, until 1928,
when the Salazar government regularized Church-state relations.
In 1930, the Church approved devotion to Our Lady of Fatima, who appeared to three Portuguese children, Lucia Santo and her cousins Francisco and Jacinto Marto, in 1917. It was she whom Pope John Paul II credited with saving his life in the 1981 assassination attempt. Catholics are 93% of the population.
The vision of the Blessed Mother was the first and, in a sense, the most important of all the catechetical lessons. The children spoke frequently of her beauty, her kindness and especially of the wonderful light that shone all about her. They knew immediately that she was from heaven. They understood that the light she radiated was God Himself. They knew, without being able to articulate it, that Mary existed in a glorified body and that she shared physically in Christ's triumph ova sin and death. Her beauty, in fact, was his work within her; the mystery of the Immaculate Conception. The children were not "annihilated" by her presence as they had been by the Angel of Peace. Rather, they felt the joy and security of the presence of a Mother. They experienced her "fullness of grace" in a maternal way. She brought with her a profound experience of God's presence and love. Her spiritual motherhood was immediately evident to the children.
The first thing Mary did for the children was to steal from them their natural fear of death. They discovered in her presence that life exists beyond the confines of this world, beyond the barrier of the grave. Mary told them: "I am from heaven." Lucia, speaking for the three, said: "Will I go to heaven too? And Jacinta and Francisco?" Mary told them that they would. From that moment, the children no longer feared death and, in fact, began to long to be with God and Our Lady in heaven.
In the apparitions the children experienced the Holy Trinity in Mary, or to be exact, in the light that emanated from the holy Virgin's heart.
In reference to the May apparition, Lucia states: "Our Lady opened her hands for the first time, communicating to us a light so intense that, as it streamed from her hands, its rays penetrated our hearts and the innermost depths of our souls, making us see ourselves in God, who is that light, more clearly than we see ourselves in the best of mirrors. Then, moved by an interior impulse that was also communicated to us, we fell to our knees repeating in our hearts: 'O Most Blessed Trinity, I adore you. My God, my God I love you in the Most Blessed Sacrament.’"
This phenomenon of experiencing God in the light of Mary was repeated more strongly in the June apparition. Lucia notes: "As Our Lady spoke the words 'I will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God,' she opened her hands and for the second time she communicated to us the rays of that same intense light. We saw ourselves in this light, as it were, immersed in God. In the front of the palm of Our Lady's right hand was a heart encircled by thorns which pierced it. We understood that this was the Immaculate Heart of Mary, outraged by the sins of humanity, and seeking reparation."