Pilgrimage of the Youth to Fatima (Portugal) with the Servant Priests and Brothers of the Home of the Mother, from July 18th-28th, 2017.
In this Centenary that we are celebrating of the apparitions of our Blessed Mother in Fatima, four Servant Brothers of the Home of the Mother took a group of fourteen teenagers on a pilgrimage from Madrid to Fatima in vans.
We began the activity by placing ourselves under the protection of Saints Justus and Pastor with a Mass in the crypt of the cathedral of Alcalá de Henares (Madrid), in front of the urn that holds the relics of these two martyrs who were brothers. We then continued on to the parish house of Pozuelo with an exciting game of paintball and sports. That same afternoon we handed out the official t-shirt of the pilgrimage with the motto 'TRIUMPH' ('My Immaculate Heart will triumph').
Early the next morning, we went out to visit the Valley of the Fallen. As soon as we arrived and saw a little bit of the church, we had Mass with the Benedictines. It was an awesome experience. After the celebration, Father Santiago Cantera (Prior of the community) greeted us, and one of the Benedictine brothers offered to explain to us about the interior of the enormous Basilica. A gift from Our Mother!
After a long time of games and a formation talk, we got into the vans again to travel for one more hour to Ávila. There, Fr Higinio, an intimate friend of the Home, awaited us to take us through the most interesting places of the city all the way to the convent of the Incarnation, where we celebrated mass in the chapel of the Transverberation. Our Mother had another grace prepared for us in the refectory where we had an encounter with a Carmelite nun who left us all in awe with her testimony. Later, after dinner, we received another spiritual bomb: Fr. Higinio told us his conversion story and how he was called to the priesthood, and many boys pointed out at the end of the pilgrimage that that moment had a great impact on them; it was a strong wake-up call to amend their lives.
We continued to Arenas of San Pedro, where the body of St. Peter of Alcántara is located. Along with this being an awesome spiritual experience, we took advantage of the beauty of nature by going to the nearby rivers to bathe and jump in the pools. We also organized a walk through the Sierra de Gredos, and ended the day tired, but with a heart full of gratitude.
The last stop was in Palancar, the first convent of the Franciscan reform started by St. Peter of Alcantará. We were only able to have a quick visit, holy Mass and dinner (with games and songs, of course), but it was enough to give us an idea of this convents extraordinary austerity.
And, finally, that same afternoon, after a five-hour trip, we crossed the Portuguese border and arrived at Fatima. We took advantage of every minute of our stay there. First, we visited the shrine with the Capelinha and the tombs of the Saints, we toured the village of the little Shepherd Children and prayed the Way of the Cross and the Consecration to the Virgin in the Loca do Cabeço. Every night, we joined in the candlelit rosary procession with the Virgin Mary, where four of the oldest boys in the group were chosen to be participants. Another day, we traveled to Santarem to contemplate the second most important Eucharistic Miracle in the world. We sang songs, played soccer, played games and even went one night to the beach. We were also welcomed by the Cenaculo Community and two of the brothers gave us their testimony of how they left the drugs and met God. It was a full trip, we did not stop!
On the last day, at the end of Mass at the Capelinha, two boys from the group entered the Home of the Mother of the Youth. Shortly after, we were in the vans and leaving Portugal. On the way back, we stopped in Salamanca to eat and play in a park, and meet once again with Fr. Higinio, who took us on a tour of the historic center. At last we reached Madrid, to finish the pilgrimage in a big way, with a festival and prizes in the parish house of Pozuelo.