My Fátima Presentation

On the Third Part of the Secret of Fátima
Kevin J. Symonds, M.A.

This presentation was delivered at the 24th International Mariological Congress held in Fátima, Portugal
as a part of the English speaking workshop on September 8, 2016 A.D., In Festo Nativitatis B.V.M.

Good afternoon: Very reverend Fathers, religious brothers and sisters, ladies and gentlemen, esteemed colleagues and devotees of Our Blessèd Lady. It is truly an honor to be with you at this prestigious Conference in Fátima—the place blessed by Our Lady’s presence nearly 100 years ago. I hope that you find the talk to be thought-provoking and challenging. Our topic, On the Third Part of the Secret of Fátima, is written from the heart but with scholarly perspective.

Much mystery, suspense, intrigue and sensational speculation have surrounded the third part of the secret for several decades. Regretfully, these issues have caused discussions on the overall secret to become mired in seemingly endless controversy, resulting in an utterly tragic misunderstanding of Our Lady’s message. In the light of the upcoming centenary of Fátima, I intend in this paper briefly to make some observations concerning these distortions. Let us begin by pointing out the present status quaestionis of the discussions.

The Status Quaestionis–Two Points of View:

Currently, there are two considerable points of view on the message of Fátima in relation to the present. The first is expressed by Cardinals Josef Ratzinger and Angelo Sodano in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s booklet entitled The Message of Fatima. It states that the “events [of the third part of the secret] now seem to pertain to the past.”[i] The second point of view, which enjoys support within the Anglo- and Francophone worlds, holds a contradictory position, namely that there are unfulfilled or undisclosed prophecies and/or revelations.[ii] The tension created between these two contradicting positions places us at a crossroad, a turning point, and the direction in which we go could affect the future of how we understand and live the message of Our Lady of Fátima. In order to demonstrate this reality, let us examine, briefly, the two positions, beginning with the first one mentioned above.

In the booklet The Message of Fatima, the Holy See released the text of the third part of the secret. The text’s general portrayal of the suffering of the Holy Father, persecution of the Church, and the spread of Russia’s errors was accompanied by supporting documentation which included a Theological Commentary from Cardinal Ratzinger. This Commentary discussed the text within the context of the Church’s theology of Public and private revelation as well as treated the individual symbols and images contained within the vision. At the time of its publication, certain circles of Catholics were incredulous of the booklet and immediately questioned the Vatican, believing there to be more revelatory text than what was published.

A particular point, as stated earlier, was that the events to which the text refers now seem to pertain to the past, specifically the twentieth century. Owing in part to events since the beginning of the twenty-first century, many of the faithful are dissatisfied with the Vatican’s position.[iii] They see many ills plaguing the Church and seek supernatural enlightenment in order to understand the “signs of the times” that are about them. Among them is a general tendency to be distrustful of ecclesiastical authority, and to turn to private revelation (I speak here specifically on this occasion of Fátima in this regard) for supernatural enlightenment and vision.[iv]

Re-Assessing the Tendency:

On a pastoral level, one can understand these sentiments as there are many issues within the Church that need to be addressed by the competent ecclesiastical authorities. The question before us is whether or not Fátima and its secret may be used to interpret these issues. Concerning this question, some recent information has been published that affords us an opportunity to re-assess matters. This information is contained in a biography of Sr. Lúcia, compiled by the Carmelite Sisters of the convent of St. Teresa in Coimbra, and entitled Um Caminho sob o Olhar de Maria.[v] Published in 2013 in Portuguese and released in English translation (April, 2015) as A Pathway Under the Gaze of Mary, their biography is a gift to the Church as it offers much clarity on various issues. Above all else, the biography affords to both scholars and devotees of Our Lady a piercing glance into the interior life of Sr. Lúcia—a noticeably neglected component in the history and literature of Fátima.[vi] As the principal interlocutor of Our Lady and her messenger, it is imperative that the life and person of Sr. Lúcia be understood; truly, a debt of gratitude is owed to the Carmelite Sisters in Coimbra for their labor of love.

One of the more notable events revealed in Um Caminho is the apparition of Our Lady to Sr. Lúcia in early January, 1944 wherein Sister received permission to write down the third part of the secret. This apparition was known to Fátima scholars, but a description of the event penned by Sr. Lúcia herself appears not to have been provided to the public, or at least not in the English-speaking world.[vii] We now possess Sister’s own account of the apparition wherein a most startling fact is revealed: Our Lady ordered Sr. Lúcia to “write down what they [Sister’s religious superiors] command you, not, however, what is given to you to understand of its significance.”[viii] This revelation is “startling” because it indicates that Sr. Lúcia knew something more about the third part of the secret. Whether or not she ever revealed it is uncertain at this time, though we know she gave some general indications in her May, 1982 letter to Pope John Paul II.

These facts have the potential to make scholars ponder the relationship between this new revelation and the characterizations and/or interpretations given in The Message of Fatima booklet. When this booklet was published, Ratzinger stated to Italian journalist Marco Politi that the Church did not wish to impose an interpretation on the faithful.[ix] This fact leaves freedom for scholars who wish to pose—and answer—various questions which need to be addressed. Indeed, we have seen this need, for example, since 2014 from articles that were published first in Italian, then English.[x] These articles demonstrate that immediate clarity is necessary so as to lessen the opportunities for distraction against and distortion of the message of Our Lady of Fátima.

Interpreting the Revelation:

I noted earlier that scholars should ponder this new revelation with the information presented in the booklet The Message of Fatima. How should scholars go about addressing this matter? Along what interpretive lines ought they to follow? To answer these questions, let us ask two things: first, have we truly reflected upon and understood well the contents of the booklet The Message of Fatima, especially Cardinal Ratzinger’s Theological Commentary? Secondly, was the point of view expressed in The Message of Fatima correct or is there room to question it, charitably and respectfully? To both of these questions, let us consider the words of French author and writer Yves Chiron. Earlier this year, Chiron stated “to re-read [Ratzinger’s] Theological Commentary would be more useful and profitable, intellectually and spiritually, than [to] listen to the ‘pure inventions, absolutely false’” of various people.[xi] When one examines and studies the Commentary more closely, a beautiful, intricate world and picture of Fátima is discovered. This world possesses a depth and richness into theological systems and formulae with roots in the Patristic Age. Indeed, a deeper study of the Commentary is necessary.

It is truly saddening, in reading various pieces of literature, to see otherwise well-meaning but (in my opinion) woefully misguided writers attack and misrepresent the Theological Commentary either in part, or its whole. It is precisely this sort of literature which has successfully managed to bind the hearts and minds of many of the faithful into a false conception of the message of Fátima—particularly the third part of the secret. Who among us has not heard some modicum of wild theories and accusations presently available for free on the Internet or elsewhere? In the light of the upcoming centenary, when many eyes are on Fátima, it seems fitting that an objective, fact-based and in-depth assessment addressing these speculations be undertaken.

Conclusion:

In concluding, I would like to highlight the Apostolic Voyage of Pope Benedict XVI to Portugal in 2010 and the challenge it offers us. While at the Lisbon airport the Holy Father stated that Our Lady “came from heaven to remind us of Gospel truths that constitute for humanity – so lacking in love and without hope for salvation – the source of hope.”[xii] Later, he famously remarked that Fátima’s prophetic mission is not complete.[xiii] It remains for us, as devotees of Our Lady, to learn at her feet, contemplating the Divine Mysteries of Her Son, from the one who “treasured all these things in her heart” (Luke 2:19) in order to make a place for Jesus in our hearts. From there to go out—as prophets—to re-evangelize a world deeply impacted by the errors of Russia and which is much in need of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the true message of Our Lady, and is how we bring about the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary—by repentance, doing penance, making reparation, and inculcating the devotion to her Immaculate Heart (the path which is held out to us at Fátima) thereby opening us to the purity of heart by which we see God (Matthew 5:8).[xiv] May the upcoming centenary of Our Lady’s apparitions in Fátima ignite in our hearts, as Pope Benedict XVI stated, the desire for the “sweet joys” of God.[xv] Thank you.


Endnotes:

[i] Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, The Message of Fatima. (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2000), 31, 43.

[ii] Cf. Christopher A. Ferrara, The Secret Still Hidden. (Pound Ridge, New York: Good Counsel Publications, 2008). Hereafter The Secret Still Hidden followed by page number.

[iii] Ibid. See also Fr. Paul L. Kramer, The Devil’s Final Battle: Our Lady’s Victory Edition. (Good Counsel Publications, 2010). See also the earlier edition of this book from the year 2002 under the same title (without the subtitle).

[iv] For more information on this phenomenon, see my article entitled The Greatest of Pastoral Care.

[v] Carmelo de Santa Teresa – Coimbra, Um Caminho sob o Olhar de Maria: Biografia da Irmã Lúcia de Jesus e do Coração Imaculado, O.C.D. (Coimbra, Portugal: Edições Carmelo, 2013). Hereafter Um Caminho sob o Olhar de Maria followed by page number.

[vi] Cardinal Bertone once relayed that Sr. Lúcia spoke of herself as being the “last obstacle” to the secret (Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, The Last Secret of Fatima. [New York: Doubleday, 2008], 80). This remark received some criticism (The Secret Still Hidden, 103-106), but was vastly misunderstood. For more information on the importance of knowing the interior life of Sr. Lúcia, see my book review of A Pathway Under the Gaze of Mary.

[vii] Cf. Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité, The Whole Truth About Fatima. Volume III: The Third Secret. (Buffalo, New York: Immaculate Heart Publications, 1990), 46-48.

[viii] Um Caminho sob o Olhar de Maria, 266.

[ix] Taken from the Q&A section of the June 26, 2000 Press Conference which introduced the publication of the text. Ratzinger stated, “…[M]a non è intenzione della Chiesa di imporre una interpretazione…” (But it is not the intention of the Church to impose an interpretation…).

[x] See the Italian article entitled Novita’ Apocalittiche da Fatima (L’Ultim Mistero: Il Silenzio delle Suore, ma Chi Tace…) by Antonio Socci. This article was published on his personal web site on 17 August, 2014 and is available via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. For the English article, see Christopher Ferrara’s article in The Fatima Crusader, Issue 110, Fall 2014, pages 22-26.

[xi] See <https://kevinsymonds.com/2016/06/08/chiron-and-fatima/> (Accessed 31 August, 2016).

[xii] Acta Apostolicae Sedis 102 [2010], 339-340. English translation courtesy of the Vatican’s web site.

[xiii] Acta Apostolicae Sedis 102 (2010), 327.

[xiv] These thoughts were expressed by Cardinal Ratzinger in his Theological Commentary.

[xv] <http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/homilies/2010/may/documents/hf_ben-xvi_hom_20100513_fatima.html> (Accessed 26 May, 2016).

Fátima Blog Post 5: Safely Home

Hi Everyone! I made it home to Waco in one piece. Having a good night’s sleep prior to my flight at 10:45 a.m. helped to make things go a lot more smoothly. I am experiencing jet-lag as I woke up at 3:30 a.m. (central) and have been unable to go back to sleep. At least now I can start getting my blog posts in order before I start my day.

Waco is only “home” for a few more hours. I accepted a job in Wisconsin last month and am moving there tomorrow. I am driving 17+ hours with a friend to do so, and I wonder how well I am going to hold up after being in Fátima for a week.

I will post more information as it becomes available. Please continue to pray for safe travels.

Sincerely,
-Kevin

Fátima Blog Post 4: Returning Home

This post was originally written on September 10. I was unable to post it at that time.

Hi Everyone! I am in Lisbon this evening where I am staying overnight at a hotel. My flight leaves early Sunday morning and there was a concern that I would miss the flight if I stayed in Fátima overnight. I heard some Italians were leaving early in the morning, but decided against asking around. My current plan was viable and it seemed pointless to change it around.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a network setting issue that I simply cannot resolve. Thus, I am unable to post my previous blog post (#3) as well as this present one (#4). Additionally, my hotel is right by the airport. Guess who did not think about low-flying planes…. This night ought to be interesting.

Hard to believe that my time in Fátima is over. It was a week ago today around this time that I was wheeling my luggage from the bus station over to the Casa de N.S. do Carmo house. Where did the week go? I have absolutely no idea, though it seems to me that time has no meaning in Fátima. Each day seemed to blend into the other. If it was not for the few blog posts that I have written, I may have no idea what happened to me on a given day.

The time issue aside, I had a beautiful time in Fátima and the 24th Mariological International Congress. The prayer, the people, the place…the three “Ps” I shall call them.

Prayer:
I more or less preferred the quiet and personal times for prayer. The Congress had set times for prayer together and this was good. I especially enjoyed praying the Rosary at night in front of the Basilica. It was Wednesday or Thursday night that I simply sat at the top of the steps of the original Basilica and prayed. It was beautiful. Seeing the people walking to and from the Capelinha (Chapel of Apparitions) and viewing the architecture was meaningful. Some would think it a distraction, but I think of the glory of God.

Though I did not go to all of them, the processions at the end of the Rosary were also very beautiful. Crowds singing the Ave Maria while escorting the statue of Our Lady of Fátima are rather moving.

People:
What can I say about the people? I was surrounded by Catholics with a deep devotion to Our Lady. All of us together…wow…. One simply cannot imagine what it was like to be around such giants of Mariology; to sit with them at table and converse—and not just in the English language—or just listen to conversation. For example, yesterday at lunch, I sat with a well-known Mariologist and listened to him discuss the merits of the question of whether or not Our Lady died before her Assumption. Said conversation was in Italian but I understood well enough what was happening.

Earlier today (Saturday), the members of the Congress had the opportunity to consecrate ourselves to Our Lady in the original Basilica. The head of the Fátima Archives led us in song and I had no idea he had such a good voice. Combined with everyone else’s, the sound was really something else and so I recorded it. Perhaps I will be able to upload it here on my web site.

Lastly on this point, the Portuguese do not seem to have lost the virtue of hospitality. Every morning I would go out and do my business, only to come back to my room around lunchtime with my bed made up, the bathroom towels tended and the trashcan emptied. The Portuguese might give the Irish a good run for their money on hospitality.

Place:
As I said earlier, there seems to be no time while one is in Fátima. One is enveloped in prayer, be it silently or vocally. I noted the “old” and the “new” look to Fátima. The town has become quite modern in many respects, especially after the construction of the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity. That was still being built in May, 2005 when I was last in Fátima. It is now completed. The striking contrast between this style of building with the original Basilica imposed itself upon me. I will not here get into the merits of the endless debate over new and old things (de gustibus non est disputandum).

Despite the more modern aspects, one can go and see some older features as well. For sure, the original Basilica stands as one such feature. However, there are also the trees that line the sides. They are reminiscent of a time when the Cova da Iria was a pasture. The tree to which the three pastorinhos fled is also still in existence.

Though this might come under the heading of “People,” I place the following discussion under “Place” because I speak of a location and its owner.

There is an almost negligible hotel in Fátima. I say “negligible” because nothing in particular stands out about it. It blends in with the other hotels around it. Appearances can be deceiving, however, and this is one such place that proves the rule.

I speak of the Solar da Marta hotel, operated by Armando Mendes, on Rua Francisco Marto 74, 2495 Fátima, Portugal.

Armando runs a clean establishment. While I cannot speak for the rooms (I did not see them), I can say that he has a nice lobby area, restaurant/bar, and a small gift store. He even has a chapel! My friends and I would go there in the evening to kick back, relax, and hold conversation. Armando can hold his own in theological discussions. There is a good video on YouTube with more information and pictures.

The Solar da Marta hotel is a hidden gem in Fátima. If anyone reading this is planning a pilgrimage to Fátima, Armando has 20 rooms available in his establishment. Do yourself a favor: book a room with him and tell him I sent you. The next time I am able to get to Fátima, I will be putting an inquiry to him.

That is all for this post. Please pray for safe travels!
-Kevin

Fátima Blog Post 3: Our Lady’s Friends

This post was originally written on September 9. I was unable to post it at that time.

Hi Everyone! It is hard to believe that I have been in Fátima nearly a week already! I have absolutely no idea where the time has gone, but I know it has gone by quickly.

The Congress is going very well, though there was a slight hiccup today. Some unauthorized literature was being distributed. I understand that the Sanctuary authorities were quickly notified.

Otherwise, we have been learning about some very good developments in the history of Fátima. There is now available a critical edition of Sr. Lucia’s Memoirs (all six). From what I recall of the presentation, there are different manuscripts which require some critical scholarly work. As it turns out, some manuscripts are held here at the Sanctuary while others are at the Carmel in Coimbra where Sr. Lúcia lived. I thought that was a fascinating revelation. I wonder what will become of Sr. Lúcia’s personal journal O Meu Caminho…?

Yesterday, I was able to speak with four people. The first was Bishop Serafim, the previous Bishop of Fátima. He is a wonderful man, very gracious. He answered some questions that I had, which were composed in Portuguese with help from a friend of mine. A local man who speaks both English and Portuguese posed the questions and translated the answers. The questions were written in both languages and so there is a record of what was asked.

I also met the Portuguese journalist Aura Miguel. Her name needs no introduction to people here in Fátima, but she is little known and appreciated within the English-speaking Catholic world. She did a lot of traveling with Pope St. John Paul II and knows a lot of VIPs. I was able to ask some questions to her and discuss some mutual interests. She is a faith-filled woman who loves Our Lady. I truly hope her book on Pope John Paul II is released someday in English. We need it.

The Vice-Postulator for the cause of Bls. Jacinta and Francisco is also here in Fátima. I was able to speak with her privately. Please pray for her as her schedule is very busy. Finally, I ran into Mark Waterinckx of Belgium last night. We went out to a local café shop for about an hour and a half with a friend of his and talked about all things Catholic. Yet another good man!

Truly, being here and meeting/speaking with all these great people is nothing short of amazing. One person said to me, “Our Lady brings her friends together.” I think this is true. There is a beating heart here in Fátima, and one must take time to be close to it and rest in the grace of God. There is simply so much here and one can miss out if he or she is not careful!

My presentation went well yesterday (it was switched back to the original scheduled time). I believe it was well-received, though I was as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. It was recorded on both video and audio devices and we even had it teleconferenced to the States via Skype so a friend could see it! The text shall be posted soon here on my web site.

Tomorrow is my last day in Fatima as my flight leaves Sunday morning from Lisbon. Pray that I find a good hotel near the airport and for a decent price.

I am praying for everyone. Please pray for me.
-Kevin

Fátima Blog Post 2: Beginning of Congress

Hi Everyone! Another day and another blog post from Fátima! It has been an eventful two days since my last post. I will not go into all of the details, but will give a basic run-down.

First, I did check out that store that seemed to be LCHF friendly. Indeed, it had a number of items that were friendly. They even had organic coconut oil! Unfortunately, what I did not think about was the fact that I need a stove to cook said LCHF-friendly foods! I don’t have access to a stove, so, yeah, I’m in a bit of a pickle. I bought some cheese though, just to show support, and I wish to give the place some business. So, fellow LCHF folk, here is a store that you may want to check out while in Fátima: Mercearia Biológica.

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I also asked about a local supermarket and was directed to the nearest one to the Sanctuary. It is right by the bus station (of all places). Again, LCHF people need access to a stove, but you can find some friendly items herePingo Doce

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In the meantime, thank goodness I had at least the foresight to pick up some Atkins bars. These are what will get me through in a pinch. The same cannot be said for beverages though. What I would not give for a nice—and COLD—Diet Hansen’s or similar beverage right now! I would even settle for flavored water! If there is someone in Fátima who is LCHF friendly and knows better the lay of the land—S.O.S.! In the meantime, Our Lady asked for sacrifices and so I can go without for a time if need be.

LCHF stuff aside, today was the opening of the Mariological Congress. I am very excited about it. There are some true giants here and it is a humbling experience to walk among them, and actually hold conversation. We were also given nice white bags with information at registration. They are very impressive:

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I spoke with a priest from Russia today and got the story from the “on the ground” approach about the latest happenings in Russia with respect to questions of faith. He disputed Western media portrayals of Putin. I will be thinking about what he said and try speaking with this priest again.

My talk, On the Third Part of the Secret of Fátima, is scheduled for Thursday, 8 September. Today I discovered that Frère François de Marie des Anges of Abbé de Nantes fame is present in Fátima for the Congress. For those who do not know, he wrote the book Fatima: Joie Intime Evenement Mondial which was translated into four volumes in English. The last book, Fatima: Tragedy and Triumph is a notable source on the third part of the secret.

Frère François and I actually met and held a (mostly) intelligible conversation in French. He showed me his program and he had already marked out my talk in red ink as a topic of interest for him. If he shows up and understands English well enough, that Q&A session may see more fireworks than I originally thought. Please, dear friends, pray for me ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus!

Today I also visited with a fellow Marian devotee from America the exhibition of various artifacts at the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity. I saw Sr. Lúcia’s glasses, Bl. Jacinta’s apron and Bl. Francisco’s rosary, amongst other things. I did not realize how tiny Bl. Jacinta was!

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If I am asked what is the single most notable thing that I have experienced so far, my answer would be “context.” One can sit and read a book about Fátima, or even lots of them, but visiting the place is much different. One sees the context much more clearly. I am learning a lot—more than I can say in a simple blog post or two. Some things, as well, need not be said because they are things that transpire deep within the heart where God dwells and speaks to the soul.

Earlier today I was interviewed for a documentary about Fátima. More on that as it becomes available. Tomorrow I have an important personal meeting and a local gentleman is serving as translator. He owns a business and I would like to send some Internet traffic to him when I have the time to organize better my material and thoughts.

Finally, while I did not get as much as I would have liked, I did purchase several books from the Sanctuary bookstore. More on that in another post.

Please pray for us!

Sincerely,
-Kevin Symonds

Fátima Blog Post 1: First Day

Hi Everyone! I hope that you are doing well! I have just about completed my first full day here in Fátima. I am happy to report that all is going well, though I did have to cancel going up to Porto for a mini-pilgrimage.

My flight left Dallas/Ft. Worth around 10:45 p.m. (Central) and we arrived in Heathrow (London) around noon (London time). It was not a bad flight, but having been up all day and not getting any real sleep on the plane, I was not in the best of shape. I then had a layover until my flight to Lisbon, and the gate was announced rather late. It was about a 2 to 2.5-hour flight and I arrived in Lisbon shortly before 6 p.m.

After taking the requisite two buses, I arrived in Fátima around 9:15 p.m. I then had to walk up to my hotel carrying my things and by the time I figured out where the front door was, I was ready for bed. Pilgrims were heading towards the Basilica for the Rosary while I was headed in the opposite direction. I felt bad, figuring that I should make the sacrifice and join the pilgrims, but I was about gone at that point. I went to bed shortly after arriving and slept for about 9 hours.

I woke up this morning a little dizzy. Knowing that this would turn into a headache, I took some ibuprofen after breakfast and that settled the issue. Speaking of breakfast, a low-carber and a foreign country do not necessarily mix. The hotel, however, had some cheese and ham. Let me tell you, that cheese was silky-tasting and I absolutely loved it. To my fellow low-carbers in Waco, you’ve got to try it! If I can identify it, I’ll let you know.

After breakfast, I set out for my day. I went around the grounds of the Basilica for a bit, re-acquainting myself with places I have not seen for a little over 11 years. My memories are different, but then again, there was a lot of construction for the Church of the Most Holy Trinity back in 2005. The re-orientation has helped me and set a good tone for the next week.

For those wondering, yes, I found the Basilica’s gift shop, and yes, tomorrow, the owners might have to re-supply their inventory….

Mass was at 11 a.m. with the Bishop of Leiria-Fátima, who, I hear, will be around for the Mariological Congress. Concerning Mass, unless you’ve been in a foreign country, one cannot really appreciate hearing the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin. That is all I will say on that point.

After Mass, I came back to my hotel for lunch. I sat with three priests and a Bishop—all from Central/South America (I think the lady who seated me thought I was a priest). One of them speaks English and we seem to have developed a rapport. For that I am grateful as the full delegation of the Mariological Society of America has not arrived yet. After lunch, I sat for a bit with the English-speaking priest and we spoke about mutual interests. I then left around 2:50 p.m. to go and further explore Fátima.

Concerning that exploration, I think I found a low-carb friendly store. It was closed for Sunday and so I will check back tomorrow and give an update in my next post. May it please God and Our Lady that this one little store be low-carb friendly! I do not know what else to do if it is not, but I trust that Our Lady—who has gotten me this far—will not leave me bereft of help.

I then returned to my hotel and met up with the English-speaking priest again. We did a little touring around town. We visited the Church of the Most Holy Trinity for a bit at the end, and then visited the fountain at the center of the piazza. I told Father a story about that fountain which Rick Salbato told me back in 2005. I am surprised how vividly I remember said story.

Speaking of Rick, I got to see his old apartment earlier today, or at least the outside of it. Knowing that he is no longer with us makes me pensive. Several months ago, I composed an article in his memory but never posted it. I shall soon rectify this matter.

I attended a Eucharistic Procession today at 5:30. It went around a good portion of the piazza. The Portuguese know pageantry and it was good to see. Afterwards, I did some editing on my talk and then began this blog post. Tonight is the Rosary around 9:30 and I might attend if I do not pray the Rosary on my own.

One final detail, to the Deacon who asked me to pray for him at the tombs of Blesseds Francisco and Jacinta as well as the Servant of God, Sr. Lúcia, I have done so and will do again before leaving.

That is all for now. Please pray for me and the Conference!
-Kevin