Join in the celebrations of the 100th Anniversary of Fatima

May 13th saw the centenary of the famous apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima celebrated by pilgrims and clerics from all over the world. Fatima became one of the most important destinations on the Catholic map thanks to the miraculous apparitions in 1917. It was in a place called Cova da Iria, where the Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children, Lucia Santos and her cousins Jacinta Marto and Francisco Marto. After this first appearance, the Virgin Mary then appeared to the children on the 13th of every month from May until October. Our Lady of Fatima or Our Lady of the Rosary, as the apparition identified herself to the three children, told them that she had been sent by God with a message for every man, woman and child. She promised that Heaven would grant peace to the world if her request for prayer, reparation and consecration were heard and obeyed. As word of these apparitions spread, people began to travel to Fatima in their thousands. In 1917 up to 70,000 people came in the hope of seeing the apparition. These days thousands of pilgrims visit the Sanctuary of Fatima each year, including numerous pilgrims travelling from Ireland and the UK. The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis will visit Fatima to mark the 100th Anniversary of the Marian apparitions of Fatima. Ireland’s leading religious tour operator, Joe Walsh Tours, has prepared a comprehensive pilgrimage programme including special masses, ceremonies and processions to commemorate the anniversary.

Pilgrimage Programme
The 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima will be celebrated with a wide-ranging programme, the high point of which was the presence of His Holiness, Pope Francis, on the 12th and 13th of May. Apart from the regular pilgrimages and religious celebrations, the 100th anniversary will be celebrated until 13th October 2017 with a wide-ranging cultural programme including a number of exhibitions, concerts of sacred music, performances relating to the apparitions, conferences, summer courses and the International Congress of the Centennial of Fatima which will be held in June. As part of the Joe Walsh Tours programme, you will attend religious events in the Sanctuary Square including special Masses in the Chapel of the Apparitions, an open air international mass followed by “Adeus” and Eucharistic Processions” You will also enjoy a guided tour of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary where the remains of Blessed Francisco, Blessed Jacinta and Sister Lucia lie. The comprehensive programme also includes escorted trips to Aljustrel & Valinhos in luxury air conditioned coaches. In Aljustrel you will visit the Fatima Parish Church and attend Mass where the three shepherd children were baptised. Valinhos is a renowned pilgrim location as this is where Our Lady appeared to the children in August 1917. You will also visit the Loca Do Cabeco, where the angel appeared twice in 1916, as well as the homes of the visionaries. You’re given the option to visit Santarem & Lisbon. In Santarem you will visit the Church of the Holy Miracle, home to a famous Eucharistic Miracle in the thirteenth century & the monument of St. Irene, who is believed to have had associations with Cova Da Iria in Fatima. In Lisbon, you will visit the Church of St. Anthony and also the crypt which contains the very room in which the Saint was born. You also visit the Church of Jeronimos, the most beautiful example of Manueline Architecture in Portugal. There will be ample opportunities to take part in the special centenary processions and celebrations along with pilgrim groups from all over the world.

Expert Guides
Joe Walsh Tours ensure that pilgrims receive the highest standard of service and orientation at all times. Their guides are highly trained & experienced and Joe Walsh Tours are known for providing an intensive level of service to pilgrims. In Fatima, there are three establishedrepresentatives – Elsa Silva, Carina Vieira and Ana Godinho who were all born & raised in Fatima and are deeply passionate about the message of Our Lady. These three ladies have been guiding pilgrims for decades & preparing itineraries to meet the needs and wants of pilgrim groups. Joe Walsh Tours receive such positive feedback & reviews on a regular basis about their wonderful guides in Fatima.

Combine Fatima with other Sacred pilgrim paths
Joe Walsh Tours comprehensive Shrines of Europe pilgrimages take you on a journey of faith around the most holy and renowned shrines of Western Europe. These once in a lifetime pilgrimages allow you to experience the sites of Lourdes, Santiago de Compostela (or Salamanca & Garabandal) and Fatima all in one beautiful spiritual journey. Meandering across Southern France, Northern Spain and Northern Portugal, these 8 to 10 night itineraries cross borders in luxury and style, while expert guides and pilgrimage coordinators assist each group along the way, sharing treasures of information, anecdotes and insider tips collected from years of living and working locally. Devotion, attention to detail and a passion for pilgrimage sites are the strengths of the Joe Walsh Tours team, and they make it their mission to pass this onto those they meet. Be prepared to fall in love with each and every shrine, just as much as they have.

Lourdes, the world’s most beloved Shrine
Lying in the foothills of the Pyrenees, the small town of Lourdes is famous for the Marian apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes to Bernadette Soubirous in 1858. It is the largest Catholic pilgrimage destination in Europe which is known as a place that offers hope and consolation to all who are in need of healing and peace. Joe Walsh Tours have been organising pilgrimages to Lourdes since 1961, with early pilgrims travelling by bus and boat before flights from Ireland were introduced shortly afterwards. A full religious programme will be organised for your time in Lourdes and is led by a spiritual director. The processions in Lourdes include the Blessing of the Sick, the Blessed Sacrament and the Torchlight Procession. You will also visit the most important places associated with St. Bernadette, her birthplace (Boly Mill) the Cachot, Saint Bernadette’s Hospice and the Sacred Heart Parish Church. There is an introductory tour of the Grotto Domain in Lourdes, visiting the Grotto, Baths, Basilicas and the Stations of the Cross.

Walk with us along with Way of St James
You’ll then continue on to Santiago de Compostela, known as the culmination of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route, a world renowned UNESCO site. Explore the city’s Cathedral, the final destination of the ever popular ninth century medieval pilgrimage, The Way of Saint James (Spanish: Camino de Santiago). Featuring magnificent Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque buildings, the old town of Santiago conserves a valuable historic centre worthy of being one of Christianity’s greatest Holy cities. In Santiago de Compostela you visit places associated with St. James such as the tomb of St. James, the Palace of Gelmirez, the Church of Santa Maria del Sar, the Royal Hospital and the Monastery of San Martin Pinario.

Substitute Santiago for Salamanca & Garabandal
Their multi-centre Shrines of Europe itineraries will allow you to substitute Santiago for the breath-taking Salamanca & Garabandal if one wishes. Salamanca, with a history dating back to the Celtic era, is known for its ornate sandstone architecture and the old centre is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. On the other hand, San Sebastian of Garabandal is the quintessential image of rugged peacefulness sitting near the Picos de Europa Mountains. On the 18th June 1961, four girls from the village were playing on the outskirts of the town when they suddenly heard a loud, thunder-like noise and saw before them the bright figure of the Archangel Michael. Continuing to appear to them over the following few days, the Angel announced that on July 2 the girls will see Our Lady. This was the beginning of the Garabandal events… in Garabandal you’ll follow a daily religious programme arranged by Joe Walsh Tours leader and Spiritual Director and you’ll visit the Apparition sites and Stations of the Cross. Spaces are filling up fast on these once in a lifetime pilgrimages. We advise you contact Joe Walsh Tours well in advance to secure your place. Phone 01 241 0800 for more info.

Posted 14/03/2017