I am away tomorrow morning leading the Fraternity pilgrimage to Fatima. I may not get the chance to blog at all - the schedule is pretty busy, so the blog may go silent for a week ("Thank God!" I hear you say!). But be assured I will remember the intentions of all my readers during the pilgrimage, and I will light a candle at the capelinha for you. If you have a special intention, as St Pio used to advise, send your guardian angel over to Fatima with it, so it can be included in the Masses and prayers.
For your information, our schedule includes:
Visit to the capelinha, site of the apparitions; the old village of Fatima where the visionaries lived, and the places where the angel appeared to the children in 1916. We will be staying in a hotel beside the Sanctuary, so we will be taking part in the daily ceremonies, including the celebrations for Pentecost and the 13th day.
Pilgrimage to Coimbra, to the monastery where the visionary and Servant of God, Sr Lucia, lived most of her life. There we will also visit the tomb of St Elizabeth of Portugal, and the church where St Anthony of Padua was received into the Franciscan Order.
Pilgrimage to Santarem to venerate the Eucharistic Miracle.
Pilgrimage to Lisbon to visit the birthplace of St Anthony of Padua, the convent where Blessed Jacinta Marto died and to sample the beauties of the capital.
If we have enough interested, we may even get up to Balasar to make a pilgrimage to the tomb and house of Blessed Alexandrina da Costa, the great saint of the Eucharist.
And of course a visit to the Dominican Sisters of Perpetual Rosary, a number of whom are Irish, and one of whom, Sr Angela, is a spiritual companion of the Fraternity (the spiritual companions were a group of holy people who accompanied us through prayer and sacrifice in the process of discernment). I normally stay with the sisters when in Fatima, but with leading a group I will be in a hotel, so I will miss the silence, serenity (and, let's face it) the wonderful food of the nuns - ahhhhh, not even Fr Z (peace be upon him) in his most inspired culinary moments can cook like these angels of St Dominic! And their mashed potatoes - like an angel crying on your tongue! Ok, not very penitential, but I'll make up for it in other ways!
Adeus, queridos leitores, até