The Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) Fatima pilgrimage of August 19-20, 2017 brought over 10,000 pilgrims to the village of the three Portuguese child-seers to make acts of adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, and petition.
A traditional Catholic heritage tour company in the United States, Regina Pilgrimages, organized three pilgrimages for more than 200 pilgrims that converged on Fatima for the weekend. Depending on which tour pilgrims were own, they would also visit the shrines of Lourdes in France, Santiago de Compostela in Spain, Santaerm in Portugal, and a host of other destinations.
“Our main objective is to visit the shrines, so the heart of the tour is a pilgrimage,” said Luis De la Serna, who founded Regina Pilgrimages in 2001.
We see what has built our Faith, and what it means to have a Catholic civilization. We see the greatness of the Catholic Church. That is something that encourages anyone who sees these places to improve their lives and to restore the Church.”
Pilgrims universally expressed a great desire to be part of the larger SSPX pilgrimage to Fatima on the 100th anniversary of the 1917 apparitions. Fran of Sanford, FL said,
I wanted to be part of the larger SSPX pilgrimage, an edifying public display of the Catholic Faith numbering in the thousands of souls. So many times, I've felt that we are such a small group, but this was quite an eye-opening experience.”
Several other pilgrims were kind enough to relate their individual reasons for making a pilgrimage.
Paul of Los Angeles, CA said,
My reasons for going to Fatima were numerous. First of all, the chance to go on a pilgrimage in the 100th anniversary year of Lady’s Apparitions and messages with priests from the SSPX and like-minded souls. Secondly, to also visit Lourdes and go to the baths because I have cancer. Thirdly, to be able to visit so many of the sites on the Way of St. James and to see so much of an incredible Spain that I would probably never otherwise see.”
Lynette of Dayton, OH describes how she made a resolution to join the pilgrimage while on an Ignatian retreat.
I was on retreat at Ridgefield. Fr. Thomas helped me with my resolutions; one was to do something special for my sons. Fr. Thomas said I I had to specify what I would do for them, it couldn’t be a general resolution, it had to be specific, attainable, and measurable. So I reached for the Regina Pilgrimage postcard on his desk, waved it at Father and said, ‘OK, I will go on a pilgrimage and pray for them.’ I knew if Our Lady wanted me in Fatima, she would make everything happen.”
Josephine of Wanganui, New Zealand said
I wanted to honor Our Lady by making the effort to go to the very places that she herself visited not so long ago. And an effort it was. We live literally on the bottom of the world, so traveling takes a lot longer, and being an expectant mother it was not the most comfortable experience. But I was greatly rewarded for my efforts. Fr. Thomas, very kindly, administered to me an Expectant Mother's blessing in Santiago de Compostela in the reliquary room which houses many saints’ relics, but most especially St. James the Minor's head. Seeing and learning about the Church's rich history whilst visiting many magnificent cathedrals and holy places have given me a deeper appreciation for the faith.”
Arturo of Los Angeles, CA said
I had been on a retreat before but never on a pilgrimage. For me, it was a mixture between a retreat and a sight of wonderful churches and cathedrals. But most of all, it was an affirmation of the reality of our faith, and a wonderful opportunity to see the depth and breadth of our faith as it grew throughout Europe, as well as to be able to share it with fellow traditional Catholics, a rare occurrence.”
Sean of Roswell, GA related how
I wanted to be part of the larger SSPX pilgrimage, an edifying public display of the Catholic Faith numbering in the thousands of souls. This pilgrimage was also an act of thanksgiving to our Lady, who I’d promised to honor with visits to Fatima, Lourdes, and Loreto after she answered my prayers for my father to see a priest on his deathbed after being away from the Church for 45 years.”
Walter of Anchorage, AK said
I was raised a Catholic and my wife is converted from Mormonism. I was 15 years old when I first met my future wife, Marie. During that same summer, in 1979, I had an opportunity to travel to Fatima with a Catholic youth group, where we traveled from Lisbon to Fatima, Tui, Coimbra, and Santiago de Compostela and then back to Fatima. While in Fatima I decided to leave my concerns with our Lady, so I wrote a petition on a small piece of paper and asked her to please make Marie my wife. I promised that if she did, I would bring Marie back to Fatima to visit her there. Four years ago, Marie and I discovered the SSPX and traditional Catholicism which has transformed our lives entirely. We decided to go to Fatima to honor her at the 100 year celebration and to fulfill my long-standing promise to her. When we arrived in Fatima, we walked together to the same statue where I had made my request and I simply stated, ‘Here she is Blessed Mother.’ I pray that others will learn to truly trust her and to try to console her in these difficult days.”
Many other pilgrims were greatly affected by their pilgrimage, and there is room to tell only a few of their stories here. Perhaps in time readers of this article will be able to make their own pilgrimages to these holy Catholic shrines. Deus vult.