Our Lady of Fátima Day

Our Lady of Fátima Day

July 13
This Portuguese holiday commemorates the appearance of the Virgin Mary to three children, aged 7 to 10, from the village of Fátima in 1917. The first appearance to the dos Santos children—Lucia, and her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco—took place on May 13, 1917, when they saw what they thought was lightning and a lady appeared to them from the top of a nearby tree. No one really took their story seriously, however, until the same thing began to occur on the 13th of every month. Each time the children went to see the Virgin, they were accompanied by an increasingly large crowd of adults. She appeared to them for the last time on October 13, in the presence of about 70,000 onlookers, when she revealed she was Our Lady of the Rosary. She told them to recite the rosary daily, and asked that a church be built for her.
Eventually the cult of Our Lady of Fátima spread, a basilica was built, and pilgrimages to the isolated shrine became common. Two great pilgrimages take place each year on May 13 and October 13, with smaller groups making their way to Fátima around the 13th day of each month in between. July 13 is considered Our Lady of Fátima Day because it was two months after the Virgin's first appearance that a large number of adults witnessed the same miracle: the sun seemed to dance, tremble, and finally fall. It took 20 years for the event to be investigated, authenticated, and the cult granted acceptance by the Pope.
CONTACTS:
Leiria Fatima Tourism Region
Jardim Luis de Camoes Apartado 1115
Leiria, 2401-801 Portugal
351-244-848-770; fax: 351-244-848-779
www.rt-leiriafatima.pt/site/frontoffice/default.as
SOURCES:
AnnivHol-2000, p. 117
DaysCustFaith-1957, p. 179
DictWrldRel-1989, p. 254
FestWestEur-1958, p. 161
OxYear-1999, p. 206
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