We arrived in Lisbon at around 5:30am this morning, and by about 8:00am we had met up with our travel coordinators for the Archdiocese of Boston and boarded our bus, heading to Santarém and Fatima.
Our first stop was in Santarém, site of an ongoing Eucharistic miracle which occurred in the 13th century. A woman who was mistreated by her husband went to ask a witch to put an end to her suffering. The witch promised her an “effective remedy”, for which she would need a consecrated host. The woman went to St. Stephen’s Church and received the consecrated Host, which she discreetly took from her mouth and wrapped in her veil. As she walked to the witch’s house, blood began to flow from her veil. Confused, the woman ran home and put the consecrated host in a chest.
In the early morning, the woman and her husband woke up and saw rays of light coming from the chest where the consecrated host was kept. At daybreak, the parish priest was informed, and the news spread through Santarem. The “Sacred Particle” was carried in procession back to St. Stephen’s Church, where it was kept inside a kind of wax custodian. Some years later, in 1340, when the tabernacle was opened to expose the “Sacred Particle” for the adoration of the faithful, the wax was in pieces and the “Sacred Particle” was enclosed in an ambule of crystal, which had miraculously appeared. This small amber was placed in a silver-gilt custodian, where it is still to be found today.
The Eucharistic Miracle is at times exposed for pilgrims who request it, and we were unbelievably blessed today to each have the powerful experience of a private viewing of the “Sacred Particle” – a tangible reminder of Christ’s true presence in the Eucharist.
Following that amazing experience we were truly filled with the Holy Spirit, as evidenced by our walk through the narrow streets of the small town, led by Luke and his guitar!
We then left for Fátima, and after a brief stop at our hotel we spent the afternoon touring the Sanctuário and surrounding sacred spaces, including an incredible rosary museum, Eucharistic Adoration Chapel, and expansive plaza and altar.
We returned to the hotel for a brief rest – and to pray the rosary together before heading out for dinner.
In the evening, we returned to the Chapel of the Apparition for another rosary and a candlelight procession.
Tomorrow morning we’ll return to the square to attend a public Mass celebrated by Cardinal Sèan. We will continue to explore Fatima tomorrow, before heading back to Lisbon on Monday.