FÁTIMA THE ALTAR OF THE WORLD
A Message of warning and of hope for the entire world
Fátima is one of the most important Marian Shrines in the world. It is a major pilgrimage site since mid-20th century, to where believers from all over the world flock every year, especially between May and October. The Sanctuary became a symbol of the Virgin Mary.
On May 13, 1917, in Fátima, a small village north of Lisbon, three shepherd children, claimed to have witnessed a vision of the Virgin Mary.
According to the account given by Lúcia Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto, the Virgin Mary had appeared to them in a pasture known as Cova da Iria. They related the apparition of a beautiful lady, radiant in white light, standing among the holly-like leaves of a small holm oak, promising to return the following months. So, between May and October 1917, at the site of the actual sanctuary, the children, witnessed apparitions of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fátima, who came at their presence to bring the world a Message. The Secret is a most important part of the Message of Fátima. During those visits, a number of precise predictions, requests, warnings and promises concerning the Faith and the World were conveyed by the Blessed Virgin Mary and entrusted to the little seers of Fátima.
Initially regarded with suspicion by the Church, but greatly cherished by the people, the phenomenon of the apparitions was only officially recognised in 1930 by the Bishop of Leiria.
The Little Chapel of the Apparitions is the real heart of the sanctuary. It was the first building constructed in Cova da Iria, on the site of the Apparitions of Our Lady.
The new and bigger Basilica of the Holy Trinity, standing face to the old Basilica, was built to welcome the 4 million pilgrims who come to Fátima to pray each year. On the outskirts of Cova da Iria, the small Chapel of the Holy Way and the Calvary, the shepherd children’s houses in Aljustrel and the Casa-Museu nearby, will all shed light on the history of Fátima too, and leave a lasting impression of this mystical place.
The fame of the Sanctuary of Fátima has spread throughout the world. Since the recognition of the miracles in Fátima, all the Popes declared the Message of Fátima authentic, especially during the papacy of John Paul II, who was a devout worshipper of Our Lady of Fátima.
On the 13th May 2000 the Vatican beatified Jacinta and Francisco, because it is said they could miraculously cure illness after their visions.