Date: 04OCT (Tue). DUBAI – LISBON – SANTAREM – FATIMA (Day 2)
We arrived at Dubai Airport at around 4:15AM, Dubai time). Philippines is four hours advanced with Dubai. And so in the Philippines, it was already 8:15 in the morning. Upon arrival, we took the connecting flight to Lisbon to arrive in the early afternoon.
We deplaned and were taxied to the Arrival area of Dubai airport. After some scanning of our hand carry bags including ourselves, we went straight to the gate number assigned to us bound for Lisbon, Portugal. We were assigned at Gate A17. It seemed, like Jesus who taught us on how to be true disciples, we just followed the signage. We took the elevator in going to our assigned gate number; rode the trump on how to reach the pre-departure area.
While we were already in our gate’s pre-departure area, we waited for two hours and at
7:40AM (Dubai time), the Emirates Airlines plane left bound for Lisbon (or Lisboa), Portugal for another eight hours of flight. We boarded the plane at around 7:15AM, again by Zone and I belonged to Zone E with plane’s seat number 24A.
We arrived in Lisbon, Portugal at around 12:25PM (Portugal time) and Philippines is seven hours advanced with Portugal. And so in the Philippines, it was already 7:25PM in the evening. Welcome to Lisboa, called Alis Ubbo (“pleasant bay”) by its early settlers, the Phoenicians.
After immigration and customs formalities, we were met by an airport assistant, boarded our coach (bus) and headed for Santarem. In this case, we were not able to enjoy the
markets, the narrow streets and square of Lisboa, supposed to be, under the guidance of our tour guide because we have to catch for our next schedule: to visit the Church in Santarem where the miracle of bleeding host is kept and had Mass there. We left Lisbon Airport at around 2:10PM bound for Santarem for our 3:30PM Mass at Saint Stephen Church. While on our way to Santarem, we prayed the holy rosary.
We reached Santarem at 3PM and then Mass was
celebrated presided by Bishop Gutierrez with Fr. Rey Joloro, the birthday celebrant of the day, as the celebrant. Actually, there was no confirmed Mass at this Church. So many of us said, “sayang!” because, instead, we spent it, with our widening eyes, to see the City of Lisbon before proceeding to Fatima, Portugal and settled in our hotel.
Santarém (Portuguese pronunciation: [sɐ̃tɐˈɾɐ̃j]) is a city and municipality located in the district of Santarém in Portugal. The population in 2011 was 61,752 in an area of 552.54 square km The population of the city proper was 29,929 in 2012. Not far from the Catholic shrine at Fatima and 45 miles north of Lisbon is Santarém, home of a number of notable churches. One of them, the Church of the Holy Miracle(Igreja do Santissimo Milagre) is home to a 13th-century eucharistic miracle. The shrine is among the most famous of its kind and is visited by thousands of pilgrims.
The Church of St. Stephen in Santarem, we knew that it as the Church of the Holy Miracle where the bleeding host is kept. More than eight hundred years have passed since the desecration of the Holy Form, and yet, fresh blood still flows from the host.
The story of the miracle centers on an early-13th-century woman with an unfaithful husband. Desperate to regain his faithfulness and save her marriage, she consulted a sorceress. The sorceress said she would cure the husband’s infidelity for the price of a consecrated host. After much deliberation, the woman decided to commit the sacrilege.
According to an author (sacred-destinations.com/portugal/santarem-eucharistic-miracle) that the next time she attended Mass at the 12th-century Church of St. Stephen, she took the consecrated wafer from her mouth, wrapped it in a veil and headed quickly for the door. But before she had taken more than a few steps, the host began to bleed. It bled so much that concerned parishioners thought she had cut her hand and attempted to help, but she ran out of the church.
Back at home, she threw the bloody host in a trunk in her bedroom. Her husband did not come home until late, as usual. In the middle of the night, they were both awoken by a mysterious light emanating from the trunk. The woman confessed to her husband what she had done and they both knelt in repentance before the miracle. The next morning, the couple told the parish priest what had happened. The priest placed the miraculous host in a wax container and returned it to the Church of St. Stephen. Word spread quickly, and the townspeople hurried to the church to see the miracle.
The next time the priest opened the tabernacle that contained the miraculous host, another miracle occurred! The wax container was found broken into pieces, and the host was enclosed in a crystal pyx. This pyx was placed in a silver monstrance, where it can be seen today.
After an investigation, the Catholic Church approved the recognition of the miracle. The Church of St. Stephen was renamed the Church of the Holy Miracle, and it is one of Portugal’s most-visited pilgrimage sites. St. Francis Xavier visited the Church of the Holy Miracle before setting off for missionary work in India.
Then after which, we journeyed to one of the world’s greatest Marian pilgrimage shrines – Fatima. Yet this shrine is located in a town ironically named after the daughter of Mohammed, Islam’s great prophet. In 1917, the image of the Virgin Mary appeared here to three shepherd children, Francisco and Jacinta Marto and Lucia dos Santos.
We checked in at Hotel Cinquentenario and Conference Center in Rua Francisco Marto, Fatima, Portugal, for dinner and accommodation at 5PM. We had our dinner at 7:30PM and then many of us joined the Rosary and Candlelight procession but I did not.
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