Places of cult and prayer

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Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima

The Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima stands at the place where the three shepherds were playing by "building a small wall" on May 13, 1917, when they saw a sudden lightning and got frightened to the point of gathering the flock to return home for fear it would rain.

The project was designed by the architect Gerardus Samuel van Krieken and continued by João Antunes. The first stone was blessed on May 13, 1928, by the archbishop of Évora and the dedication took place on October 7, 1953. The title of basilica was granted by Pius XII, through the brief Luce Superna, of November 11, 1954.

The building is 70.5 meters long and 37 wide, and was totally built with limestone of the region, branco do mar.

External particularities

The bell tower is 65 meters high, and topped with a bronze crown of 7 tons, built at Foundry of Bolhão, over which stands an illuminated cross. The carillon consists of 62 bells, cast and hardened in Fatima by José Gonçalves Coutinho. The clock is the work of Bento Rodrigues. The monogram NSRF – Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima – engraved on the front side of the tower is a mosaic made in the Vatican workshops. Also there was executed the mosaic that lies above the main entrance of the Basilica, and represents the Holy Trinity crowning Our Lady. The angels in the façade are in marble and were made by Albano França. The statue of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in the niche of the tower, is the work of a priest and American sculptor Thomas McGlynn. It was sculpted according to the guidelines of Sister Lucia and offered by American Catholics. It was blessed on May 13, 1958.


Internal aspects

The temple consists of a large nave with presbytery, transept and two sacristies, one of which was converted into a place of worship (chapel of St. Joseph).

It has 14 side altars – of marble from Estremoz, Pero Pinheiro and Fatima –; in each altar, a mystery of the rosary is represented in bronze, bas-reliefs, authored by Martinho de Brito and gilded by Alberto Barbosa. The 15th mystery is represented in the vault of the presbytery; it is a high-relief by Maximiano Alves. The stained glass windows of the side altars represent invocations of the Litany of Our Lady and were designed by João de Sousa Araújo. A mosaic covers the entire cruise arc. It was made in the Vatican workshops and offered by Catholics of Singapore; one can read on it the inscription "Regina Sacratissimi Rosarii Fatimae Ora Pro Nobis" (Queen of the Most Holy Rosary of Fatima, pray for us). On April 10, 1998, a Way of the Cross was placed on the side walls, which consists of 15 mosaic panels, designed by Fred Pittino.

In 1995, the presbytery was remodeled under the project of the architect Erich Corsepius. At the center stands the stone altar, in which was placed a silver front from the primitive altar – an art jewelry created by goldsmith Aliança – which depicts the Last Supper. The lectern, the pedestal of Our Lady and the chair of the presidency are made of the same stone of the altar. The tabernacle, as the front of the altar is carved silver. The painting of the retable is the work of the painter João de Sousa Araújo and represents the Message of Our Lady which descends in the form of light and peace, to meet the seers, prepared by the Angel through their encounter with Christ in the Eucharist; the Church is also present (by representation of the diocesan bishop and the popes).

In the left transept arm, one can see the chapel where the remains of Blessed Jacinta, who died on February 20, 1920, repose from May 1, 1951, and of Sister Lucia, who died on February 13, 2005 which remains were transferred on February 19 of the following year. The statue of Jacinta was authored by Clara Menéres and was blessed by John Paul II on May 13, 2000. At the other end of the transept is the chapel where are deposited since March 13, 1952 the remains of Blessed Francisco, who died on April 4, 1919. That same day May 13, 2000, John Paul II blessed the statue of Francisco, authored by José Rodrigues.

The organ, located in the background choir of the Basilica, was built and assembled by Italian firm Fratelli Ruffatti and inaugurated in 1952. The five bodies of the organ, originally dispersed, were brought together in 1962. In 2015, in the scope of the centennial celebration of the apparitions of Fatima, a profound restoration/reconstruction was undertaken on the organ, already in an advanced state of deterioration. From the first Ruffatti organ, a substantial part of the tubes was used, now framed in a new box, and designed in a contemporary aesthetic, resulting from a close collaboration between the organ builder and the architectural services of the Shrine of Fatima. The new version of the instrument – built by the firm Mascioni Organi – has, as the previous, five manuals, although with a restructured arrangement, and about 90 ranks.





The author of the architectural complex of the Colonnade is António Lino. Consisting of 200 columns and half columns and 14 altars, the Colonnade includes a Way of the Cross in ceramic; these panels were produced in the factory "Viúva Lamego" according to the project of António Lino with the cooperation of the ceramist Manuel Cargaleiro.

Over the Colonnade, there are 17 statues. Some are of saints whose congregations exist in Fatima; others are of saints who, by their writings and preaching were "Marian apostles."  The largest statues are 3.2 meters high and the smallest 2.3 meters.

The organ of the Prayer Area, located in the choir room, on the left side of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, was manufactured by Yves Koenig. It has 20 ranks, spread over two manuals keyboards and pedal gear. Its composition allows to be used in great celebrations, and thanks to its wide range of sound possibilities, it can interpret a wide repertoire.


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Prayer Area

The Prayer Area is a large square, bordered by leafy trees in northern and southern sides and outlined in eastern and western sides by the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima and the Basilica of the Holy Trinity, respectively. It is a place that invites us to interiority and prayer and brings together large assemblies during celebrations.

Large Holm-oak

The Large Holm-oak, identified like this in many early documents related to the apparitions, is a tree with more than a hundred years and was the only one among the existing trees that prevailed. Our Lady didn’t appear over it, but it was quickly linked to the apparitions. Indeed, as Lucia told, it was just when they were passing by this tree that the three little shepherd of Aljustrel saw, for the second time, the lightning that preceded the apparition of May 13. In the following months, under the shade of the large Holm-oak, the three little shepherds prayed the rosary with the persons who had come with them, preparing themselves to receive the visit of the Lady.

The Department of Forest Resources of Portugal classified it, on January 2007, as a tree of “public interest”, for its traditional connection to the apparitions.


Monument of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

The architectural complex, which holds the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, is placed over the primitive structure of the fountain that was built after some perforations made therein, as an outcome of the need to find water, in Cova da Iria, to fulfill the pilgrims’ needs. From this primitive set and after the works of leveling of the Prayer Area, just the upper part and the column holding the sculpture are able to be seen.

The statue is made up of gilt bronze and the author is not known. It was offered by a pilgrim and blessed on May 13, 1932 by Mgr. Giovanni Beda Cardinale, then Apostolic Nuncio in Portugal.

Its location at the center of the Prayer Area illustrates significantly the centrality of Jesus Christ in the message of Fatima.


Nativity Scene

On the morning of December 25, 1999, the beginning of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, a Nativity Scene was inaugurated. It was conceived by José Aurélio.

It is shaped as a triangle, allusive to the Most Holy Trinity. It is 5 meters high and 5 meters wide and it is made up of perforated stainless steel plate.


Berlin Wall

The Monument of the Berlin Wall was inaugurated on August 13, 1994. It is a piece of the wall which was built in Berlin on the night of the 12th of August, 1961, and which divided the city for almost thirty years. It was demolished in November 1989. This piece, which weighs 2.6 tons and measures 3.6 by 1.2 meters, was offered by a Portuguese person living in Germany. José Carlos Loureiro is the author of the layout of the monument.


Tribute to Manuel Nunes Formigão and Luís Fischer

This monument-memorial dedicated to Canon Manuel Nunes Formigão and Father Pr. Luís Fischer, two eminent priests who played an important role in the historiography of the apparitions of Fatima and the diffusion of its message, was inaugurated on October 13, 1998. It is located next to the Berlin Wall, and it is made up of seven green pearl granite panels and was designed by Graça Costa Cabral.




Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity

The idea of building a new church in the Shrine of Fatima came up back in 1973. Already at that time, one noticed that the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima had no capacity to receive all the pilgrims, especially on Sundays and other days of medium affluence. In 1997, the Shrine organized an international contest whose final winner was the Greek architect Alexandros Tombazis, who planned the construction of the new church at the backend of the Prayer Area, next to Pius XII Square.

The placing of the first stone took place on June 6, 2004, Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. Several reasons contributed for choosing the name of Most Holy Trinity: the apparitions of the Angel of Peace, with his insistent invitation to adore God-Trinity; the words of John Paul II uttered in the Little Chapel of Apparitions, in May 1982, given thanks to the Most Holy Trinity; and the Jubilee of the Year 2000, also dedicated to the Most Holy Trinity.

The Church of the Most Holy Trinity was dedicated on October 12, 2007, by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, then Secretary of State of the Vatican and legate of Benedict XVI for the conclusion of the 90th Anniversary of the Apparitions of Our Lady to the three little shepherds.

The Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments has granted to this temple the title of basilica by the Decree of June 19, 2012, which highlights its pastoral importance and, above all, its special bond of communion with the Holy Father – a particularly important dimension of the message of Fatima – and at the same time the affection of the Pope towards Fatima. 

The Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity is circular, with 125 meters in diameter and without interior supports; its only support comes from two beams of 182,5 meters in length, with a free span of 80 meters and a maximum height of 21,15 meters. The building is 18 meters high. The whole building is white and has 8,633 seats. The interior can be divided into two sectors by means of a moveable wall of 2 meters high. The presbytery can hold 100 concelebrants.

The altar, the lectern, the chairs of presidency and the floor of the presbytery are made out of limestone branco do mar; the other floor is covered, in the interior of the church, with beige ataíja stone; the floor in other spaces of the church is covered with bluish ataíja.

Exterior iconography

The entrance Portico, a sculpture suspended of steel net, evokes the apparitions of the Angel of Peace and invites us to enter the temple and adore the Most Holy Trinity. It was created by Maria Loizidou. The main door, made of bronze, is dedicated to Christ, and its author is Pedro Calapez. From the same artist, in an upper level next to the main door, one can see panels representing the twenty mysteries of the Rosary. In a lower level, two glass panels with four biblical quotes, engraved in twenty six languages, represent a monument to the Word of God and to the universality of the pilgrims of Fatima and to the Most Holy Trinity. The author is Kerry Joe Kelly. The side doors, 8 meters high bronze doors, are dedicated to the Twelve Apostles. The graphics are from Francisco Providência.


Interior iconography

The altar is made out of a unique piece of local stone, branco do mar; it’s 3, 5 meters long, 1.9 meter wide and 94 centimeters thick; it weighs 16 tons. In the front side of the altar, there is a piece of marble from the tomb of the Apostle Peter (over which the Basilica of the St. Peter was built, in the Vatican). This small stone represents a sign of communion with the Universal Church and evokes the bond of Fatima and its message to the Holy Father. The crucifix, suspended above the altar, is 7.5 meters high and is superposed on the panel’s Lamb. It is made of bronze and the author is Catherine Greene. The statue of Our Lady depicts Mary, young, with open arms and showing her Immaculate Heart and the Rosary. It was sculpted of Carrara white marble and it is 3 meters high. The author is Benedetto Pietrogrande. Then, the panel that covers the curved back wall of the presbytery; it is a mosaic of 10 meters high and 50 meters wide, made of terracotta, gilt and molded manually. The gold color symbolizes the holiness and fidelity of God. The three red lines intend to emphasize the gold color and to help in the perception of mystery and holiness. All the dynamism and tension of light and gold in the horizontal and vertical directions intend to provoke, in the heart of who is in the church, a state of soul which welcomes beauty, communion and love. Its author is Marko Ivan Rupnik and it was made by a group of specialized artists coming from eight nations and four Christian Churches.


Galilee of the Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul and Reconciliation Area

The Galilee of the Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul is a vast area, organized as a corridor, located underground between the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity, of which it belongs, and the Prayer Area. It has a length of 150 meters and the eastern wall is covered with tiles designed by Álvaro Siza Vieira. The access to this area is made through two stairways and two ramps. The Galilee of the Apostles is the common atrium of the chapels of the Reconciliation area – Blessed Sacrament Chapel, Death of Jesus Chapel, Resurrection of Jesus Chapel, Sacred Heart of Jesus Chapel and the Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel – and the St. Augustine Social Hall, multiuse space that shares the same architectural language of the entire complex. In the entrance hall of the Resurrection of Jesus Chapel and the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, there is a Via Lucis, made by Vanni Rinaldi.

In the Galilee of the Apostles, one can contemplate two water mirrors, which invite us to reflection and interiority. The first, on the side of St. Peter, alludes to the first creation, the creation of life; the second, on the side of St. Paul, points to the second creation, the Baptism, as a participation in the new life of Jesus Christ.


John Paul II and Pius XII Squares and the High Cross

The surrounding area of the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity comprises two squares. The Square of John Paul II includes the area in the eastern side of the basilica. Located northeast of the basilica, one can see, in this square the statue of John Paul II, made by Czeslaw Dzwigaj, and northwest, the statue of Paul VI, by Joaquim Correia. Here too, near the statue of the polish pope, the High Cross - 34 meters high and 17 wide, made of corten steel - designed by Robert Schad. The Pius XII Square, in the western part of the Basilica, has the statue of Pius XII, southwest side, made by Domingos Soares Branco, and the statue of bishop Mgr. José Alves Correia da Silva, southeast side, made by Joaquim Correia.



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Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament

The Blessed Sacrament is exposed for adoration at the Shrine of Fatima since January 1, 1960.

It began to be exposed in the chapel of the Hospital of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, today the Retreat House of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. In 1964, the Laus perennis – permanent exposition of the Blessed Sacrament – was made in the Shelter of the Sick, today Retreat House of Our Lady of Sorrows. Later, in 1987, an Adoration Chapel was opened on the top of the southern colonnade; now this chapel is dedicated to the Angel of Peace.

On July 13, 2008, the Laus perennis began to be in the new Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, located in the complex of the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity. This chapel, located in the Galilee of the Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul, has 200 seats and is opened during the whole day. The monstrance, made of silver, was designed by Zulmiro de Carvalho and dates back to 1986.



Chapels of the Reconciliation

The Chapel of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Chapel of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, exclusively dedicated to the celebration of the Sacrament of Penance, are located in the Galilee of the Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul. They have, respectively, 16 and 12 confessionals.


Chapel of the Death of Jesus

The Chapel of the Death of Jesus, located in the Galilee of the Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul, receives some of the celebrations of the official program of the Shrine of Fatima. It has a seating capacity for 600 people.


Chapel of the Resurrection of Jesus

The Chapel of the Resurrection of Jesus has 200 seats and 16 confessionals. It integrates the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity complex, in the Galilee of the Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul.


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Way of the Cross in the Shepherds Way and Hungarian Calvary

Beginning at the roundabout of St. Theresa of Ourém (South roundabout) and following the path usually traveled by the shepherds, the Way of the Cross in the Shepherds Way ends at the Hungarian Calvary – which was originally called "Hungarian Calvary Cardinal Mindszenty" – of which the chapel is dedicated to St. Stephen, King of Hungary.

The fourteen Stations of the Way of the Cross and the chapel, offered by Catholics from Hungary, were designed by Ladislau Marec. The first stone of the Way of the Cross was blessed on June 21, 1959 and the first stone of the chapel on August 11, 1962. The stations and the Chapel of St. Stephen were blessed on May 12, 1964. The 15th station, blessed and inaugurated on October 13, 1992, was offered by the Hungarian parish of Lajosmizse in gratitude for the "resurrection" of Hungary.

The panels of the stations, in bas-relief, and the statue of Our Lady Patroness of Hungary, inside the chapel, were created by Maria Amélia Carvalheira da Silva. The Calvary sculptures were made by Domingos Soares Branco. In the chapel, the stain-glass windows, designed by Peter Prokop, represent Hungarian saints; and the two large ceiling mosaics, also by Peter Prokop, are composed of small marble stones and represent the apparition of Our Lady to the three shepherds and delivery of the Hungarian crown of St. Stephen King to Our Lady.



23 feb 2024

Mass, in Portuguese, in the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima

  • 11h00

Rosary, in the Chapel of the Apparitions

  • 12h00
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