NATIONAL HOLIDAY OF PORTUGAL - ANGEL OF FATIMA
When getting my morning coffee I suddenly ran into hug crowds of people but did not know why. Busses and cars were everywhere. All night the night before here in the children's village of Fatima, I heard singing until midnight. It took twenty minutes to get coffee. I then could not find parking. I parked a 1/2 mile from the shrine and walked. Worried about my back since I had just stopped using crutches and was not supposed to stay on my feet too much. Tents were everywhere and the crowds going into the Shrine were like a Super-bowl game. This was June 10, 2002 and the second feast day of Fatima was June 13, 2002, so what was this. Inside I was faced with 700,000 people, about 30% were children bussed in with their uniforms and colored caps. Throughout the Shrine were groups of red caps, and other groups of yellow caps, and on and on. Thousands of many colored balloons were held by strings. The children were singing all together at the foot of the Basilica. I moved through the crown to the Information booth to ask Bernadette or Helena what was going on.
NATIONAL GOVERNMENT HOLIDAY
It was a government holiday that went back over 100 years. It was the Angel of Portugal's national holiday. The name was changed to the Angel of Fatima, but it was a holiday before the apparitions of Fatima in 1917. The king of Portugal had declared St. Michael the protector of Portugal many years ago. It was angel's that helped the first King of Portugal drive out the Moors. It was angel's that helped Blessed Nuno drive out the Spaniards. The angel of Fatima appeared to the children in June and most likely on this same feast day. To the Portuguese this was a more important feast day than Christmas or Easter. This was their independence day, the day of the angel of Portugal, who helped them many times. The Masons tried to do away with this holiday at the time of the apparitions but the people would not work on that day. Today everything closes down just like Christmas. The place to go and honor the angel of Portugal - Fatima.
Can you imagine America having a national holiday that was strictly Catholic? This is not separation of Church and State and no one is complaining about it. As the European Union tries to rid its constitution of any mention of God and is trying for force a complete separation of Church and State, Portugal stands firm in its love of its history, which is a history of the Catholic Church and the power of God.
You will never see this many people in one spot in America for any event. Here in Portugal these people have come to Fatima not to seek something from Our Lady but to simply pay Her and the Angel of Portugal honor and thanks for protecting Portugal from war, communism, and even extinction as a Nation. Remember that in 1914 the Masons vowed to rid the entire country of the Church in two generations. In a way this is people power saying to these people: "You will never take our faith. We have Saint Michael protecting us. We have Our Lady praying for us. You cannot win against these people." This is people power, because if the government tried to do away with this holiday, the people would simply not show up for work.
Communists tried to take the government by force in 1974 after Salazar died. They even had Russian troops flying in to the Lisbon airport. They brought tanks right to the door of the seat of government. However, an unarmed public took up table legs and stopped a communist army from entering Lisbon. Woman praying the rosary stopped the Russian airplanes from landing, and in the end not one person died but the communists gave up the attempt. "Portugal will never loose the faith." (Our Lady of Fatima)
MOST BEAUTIFUL DAY
In a three hour Mass, 700,000 people honored Our Lady and Her Angel. When Her Statue was carried back to the Cova from the high altar these thousands of people sang songs to Her and waved their many colored hats for over 1/2 hour. At the same time they let go of the many colored balloons which sailed over the buildings and the wind took them to the children's village and the site of the apparitions of the angel.
In the evening my grandson and I marched in the light of the stars from the Cova to the site of the angel of Fatima, where he gave communion to the three children. Fire flies dotted the path all the way and then danced to unheard music around the statues of the angel and the children. Passing by my home in the village were thousands of children in busses and walking back to their homes with the joy of knowing they had come to honor their two protectors, Our Lady and Saint Michael.