Lisbon Cathedral (Santa Maria Maior)

Six unmissable holy places in Portugal

A Catholic pilgrimage to Portugal connects you to a long and venerable tradition of traveling to places considered both sacred and holy. By the early 10th century, the belief that visiting a shrine or sacred place, and even the ability to touch the bones or belongings of holy people, would bring you closer to God had become increasingly popular and more widely embraced.

This is what has attracted nearly half a million pilgrims each year to Compostela and the Sanctuary of the Apostle James. Later it would be Lisbon and the places associated with Saint Anthony of Lisbon also known as Saint Anthony of Padua.

At the beginning of the 13th century, pilgrims came to Fatima to visit the sites where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three peasant children: Lucia, Francesco and Jacinta. The apparitions began on May 1917, 6 and continued 17 more times, ending on October 1917, 100. So, over XNUMX years later, Catholic pilgrims from all over the world still come to these revered places to reflect, pray and share their own modern examples of how visitors have been changed and healed in ways they never imagined.

This very meaningful pilgrimage to the Iberian Peninsula will allow your group to both gather with the crowds at Fatima for the evening candlelight process with the Pilgrim Statue, and also experience the joyful cries as another person from faith finally crosses the shrine in the square. in Compostela.

Fatima: a beloved Marian apparition site

Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima, the largest place of pilgrimage in Portugal. Located in central Portugal, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima has become, over the years, the fourth largest Catholic pilgrimage site in the world, due to the apparitions of the Virgin Mary to three little shepherds in 1917. It is surreal to see the very spot where Our Lady appeared to three shepherd children from May to October 1913, in a series of visions that included prophecies and a call to repentance and the prayer of the Rosary. These visions ended with the sun dancing across the sky, seen by crowds 40 miles away. The tombs of the saints. Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco rest in the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary. Nearby you'll find the Basilica of the Holy Trinity, the fourth largest Catholic church in the world (St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican ranks first). One of the most popular Catholic pilgrimage sites in the world, Fatima is a powerful reminder that Our Lady always watches over us and urges us to turn to her holy son.

Santarém: peaceful landscapes and medieval churches

Standing on top of a plateau, Santarém is a lookout over the fertile wetland region, the Tagus Valley known for agriculture, livestock and bullfighting. The city incorporated the lands of the Order of Christ, which financially supported the Portuguese discoveries. It is the ideal place in Portugal to discover the rolling countryside and the magnificent greenery. The farming town is full of churches, including the Misericordia Church where a Eucharistic host is said to have started bleeding, and the Santa Maria de Marvila Church, which has 65 stunning, colorful tiles decorating the interior. St. Francis Convent is also a notable landmark, showcasing a variety of medieval art styles such as Baroque and Renaissance.

Alcobaca: home of the famous Alcobaca Monastery

The founding of the Alcobaça Monastery, located in central Portugal, is closely associated with the beginning of the Portuguese monarchy. When Afonso Henriques was proclaimed King Alfonso I in 1139, he based his political reconquest on the crusaders and the religious orders. Peace, beauty and medieval history await you in the picturesque historic town of Alcobaça, home to the largest church in Portugal. This church stands on the grounds of the Alcobaça Monastery, one of the most important monasteries in Europe during the Middle Ages, where the monks lived and taught and kept an extensive library. Built in the 1100s, the monastery was the first Portuguese structure to use Gothic-style artwork and architecture. Many members of Portuguese royalty are buried within these walls, including the famous King Pedro and his murdered mistress Ines de Castro.

Batalha: Portugal's most successful battleground

The Batalha Monastery commemorates the Portuguese victory over Castilians in the nearby Battle of Aljubarrota. It is the most important Gothic building in Portugal and one of the most important in the Iberian Peninsula and in Europe. The building also gave rise to the Manueline style of architecture. The Westport was one of the last parts to be completed and demonstrates the influence of the architect's early education in France. The tympanum, however, draws on the Iberian tradition. A beautiful town surrounded by rich Marian devotion, Batahla and its famous monastery were created to celebrate the monumental Portuguese victory over Spain on August 14, 1385 after the Battle of Aljubarrota, which secured Portugal's independence. King João I had made a vow to the Blessed Virgin to build a monastery in his honor if she came to his aid. As a tribute, he built the Monastery of Saint Mary of Victory (popularly called Batalha Monastery) as well as the city of Batalha, which means battle. The monastery houses many royal tombs as well as the tomb of Henry the Navigator.

Lisbon Cathedral (Santa Maria Maior): st. Baptismal site of Anthony of Padua

Built in 1147, Lisbon Cathedral, or Santa Maria Maior, is a testament to resilience. It has withstood more than one natural disaster (including an earthquake!) and been rebuilt several times, but it still stands strong, a beacon of faith and inspiration for the Portuguese people and all who come here. go there. And how often do you see the baptismal font of a saint? Legend has it that Saint Anthony of Padua was baptized in Lisbon Cathedral.

The church of st. Anthony in Lisbon: birthplace of a beloved saint

Many people are surprised to learn that Saint Anthony, the beloved patron saint of lost things, was actually born in Lisbon, Portugal, rather than somewhere in Italy. The Saint-Antoine church was built just above his birthplace. One of the saint's bones, a relic of the first order, is contained in the church. Pope John Paul II is among the pilgrims who visited this holy place: he came on his way to Fatima to thank the Blessed Mother for saving his life when he was shot in 1981.

If you have the chance, stop by these amazing places when you are in Portugal. They offer a unique opportunity to cultivate your faith, experience history and encounter the sacred!

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