On Monday, we said goodbye to Lisbon and made our way to Fatima for the day. Although the extreme temperatures and the nearby fires fueling the heat even more, we were all looking forward to arriving in and exploring Fatima. We went on a guided tour and were able to see where the angel Gabriel appeared to the Three Children of Fatima, where Our Lady first appeared to the Children, the Church of Fatima and the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima, which is the home of the tombs of the Three Children.
We attended a tour of the Museum of the Shrine of Fatima, which is where the bullet that shot Pope John Paul II is encased in a crown, and we then celebrated Mass at the site of the famous Marian apparition with Archbishop Anthony Fisher. Some decided to beat the heat and head back to the Basilica for personal prayer. We then made our way to the Abrantes region to begin our post-WYD retreat. We arrived right on time for dinner and then had free time – most taking up the opportunity to go for a swim.
On Tuesday, we jumped back on the bus and ventured to Nazaré – home to the most popular huge wave breaks in the world. We celebrated together at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Nazaré, before having the remainder of the day at leisure. Many went to a local pub for lunch and then either wandered over to the beach or went souvenir shopping.
On Wednesday, we travelled to Porto and began a walking tour of the Porto Cathedral. In here, we celebrated Mass right at the altar, and right next to a relic of Blessed Carlo Acutis! With this being our final full day in Portugal, we again had the afternoon at leisure. We regathered as a full group for a celebratory dinner to reflect on our trip, celebrate three pilgrim’s birthdays and thanked the leadership team for their organisation and involvement in this trip.
On Thursday, we had a bit of a later start allowing us to play Tetris with our suitcases and to be ready for the airport. We celebrated Mass as a group one last time and debriefed the whole WYD Pilgrimage by each sharing a highlight and challenge of the trip, as well as stating a commitment we will hold ourselves accountable to once returning home. We trekked back to Lisbon for some free time before heading to the airport. We said goodbye to some of our group who were staying overseas to continue their travels, and the rest of us began our journey back home to Australia.