The Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima
John Paul II named Fatima the altar of the world due to his devotion to Our Lady of Fatima for saving his life after the attempt he suffered
Fatima, a small town north of Lisbon that was once a backwater depending upon subsistence farming and the production of olive oil was elevated to the category of one of the main holy places in the world by Pope John Paul II, who was firmly devoted to Our Lady of Fatima giving it a worldwide dimension because he believed that it was thanks to her divine intervention he survived the attempt against his life. It was John Paul II who proclaimed Fatima the altar of the world.
Fatima differs from the majority of the other pilgrimage places for being relatively recent. In fact, while other destinations like Santiago de Compostela, for instance, go back to medieval times when pilgrimages were very popular, Fatima’s Holy relevance just started on May 13th 1917 when, according to the Catholic’s beliefs, the Virgin Mary appeared in a flash of light to three shepherd children in a remote place called Cova da Iria, asking them to return there on the 13th of each month. In October – when the last apparition took place – the Lady of the Rosary, as she introduced herself, revealed the three “Secrets of Fatima” to Lucia, one of the children.
Since then, Fatima has been a pilgrimage place especially on the 13th May and October, when thousands of people gather to pray and to witness the passage of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima; the most moving of these processions takes place at night when tens of thousands of candles light up the sanctuary, offering a magnificent scenery.
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima description
The Sanctuary is dominated by the impressive Basilica of Our Lady of Fatima that houses the tombs of the three shepherd children Francisco, Jacinta and Lucia. The fifteen altars devoted to the 15 mysteries of the Rosary are another highlights of the Basilica along the four statues of the four great apostles of the Rosary, Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Saint Dominic, Saint John Eudes and Saint Stephen, King of Hungary, placed at the four corners of the Basilica.
More recently, namely on October 2007 was inaugurated the Holy Trinity Church, one of the largest Catholic temples in the world, exhibiting 12 doors, representing the 12 Apostles.
Another interesting highlights of the sanctuary is the segment of the Berlin Wall representing the belief that Good and Our Lady of Fatima influenced the fall of the Berlin Wall fulfilling the prophecy of the Consecration of Russia promised by Our Lady of Rosary during the apparitions.
Yet, the heart of the sanctuary is the Chapel of Apparitions that stands on the exact location of the apparitions, which is marked by a marble pillar holding a statue of the Virgin Mary.