The following blog post was written with the assistance of ChatGPT
On our last day in Portugal, we drove back from Porto and stopped by Fátima, an important Catholic pilgrimage site. The town gained worldwide attention after three shepherd children – Lúcia, Francisco and Jacinta – claimed to have received apparitions of the Virgin Mary in 1917. The apparitions took place in a field called Cova da Iria, just outside of the town. Since then, Fátima has become a destination for millions of Catholic pilgrims from around the world. The main structure within the sanctuary is the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, which houses the tombs of Francisco and Jacinta. The exterior shows several paintings illustrating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, while the interior of the basilica is adorned with marble and gold, and the altar is located in the apse, which is decorated with a mosaic of the Virgin Mary.
Many of the people I saw there came for the pilgrimage. Some people could even be seen walking towards the chapel on their knees to show their devotion. People like me are just there for the experience.
Outside the basilica is The Chapel of the Apparitions, which marks the spot where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared. Throughout the day, open-air mass is held, attracting large crowds.
There is a site nearby the sanctuary, known as The Calvary or Via Sacra (Sacred Way) which consists of a series of 14 outdoor chapels that depict the Stations of the Cross, a series of images depicting Jesus Christ on the day of his crucifixion, such as the Flagellation, and the Crucifixion. We walked along the whole path in the rain up to the Calvary.
Overall it was an enlightening experience. As someone who isn’t part of the faith, it was surprising to see many people so devoted to the religion. Considering that the visions occurred in 1917, it’s weird to think that even around a hundred years ago, people still took these visions seriously. I guess even in our modern age, people believe in weird stuff, so maybe it’s not so surprising.
See more photos of Fátima here