On Wednesday, 9 Aug, we had a walking tour of the whole Fatima site. Part of that tour was exploring the Basilica of the Holy Trinity. We had been there for Mass the previous day.
By 1973 the need for a much larger basilica than the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary was acknowledged. However the building of the Basilica of the Holy Trinity didn’t begin until 2004, almost 4 years after Francisco and Jacinta were beatified. The building itself wasn’t completed until late 2007, with most of the major artworks installed during 2008.
Inside the Basilica around 8000 pilgrims can be seated, and there’s room on the altar-sanctuary to seat up to 100 clergy.
From this photo you can see how vast the outdoor area between the two Basilicas. The whole area is used for night-time processions and for outdoor Masses at big events. You can also see how the Basilica of the Holy Trinity blends into the landscape and doesn’t detract from it.
The exterior surface of the Basilica is made from locally sourced white stone.
If you zoom into this photo a bit, you can better see the wall-covering mosaic and the seating for the clergy. Produced in the Vatican workshops, many international artists took part in this painstaking mosaic artwork.
The photo also gives you an idea of just how many pews there are.
In front of the group of Saints in the mosaic on the left-hand side of the altar is the Virgin Mary, with St Francisco and St Jacinta on either side of her, with possibly Lucia – without a halo, and garbed as a Carmelite nun – behind the Virgin Mary’s left shoulder.
On the right-hand side of the altar, the leading figure of the mosaic Saints is St John the Baptist.
For those of you familiar with the Catholic Mass, and Eucharistic Prayer No. 1, two groups of Saints are mentioned: the first group before the consecration is headed by the Virgin Mary, and the second group after the consecration is headed by St John the Baptist.
At the far right-hand end of the mosaic, after this glorious depiction of the gathered Saints in heaven around the Lamb of God, there is a reminder that Hell, too, exists.
Surrounding the big circular church interior of the Basilica is this wide underground walkway. There are 12 exits from the church interior into this walkway, one for each Apostle.
Then you find all kinds of chapels, toilet facilities, meeting rooms, exhibition spaces, and sets of stairs opening out from this walkway. It was also a great place for those special moments of seeing familiar faces in unexpected places.
One of those chapels off the walkway is this Blessed Sacrament chapel, which can fit up to 200 pilgrims for adoration and prayer. In the centre of that golden square shape is a simple circular monstrance holding a consecrated host for veneration. Spending time before a consecrated host visible in a monstrance is called adoration: because Catholics believe in the consecrated host Jesus Himself is truly and fully present.
In the exhibition space, there was a temporary exhibition on the Rosary. It will remain there until late 2024, when a new temporary exhibition will take its place. Gathered in this exhibition were many rosary beads used by popes, and saints. St Padre Pio’s rosary beads were there.
There were some art installations, but they didn’t capture my attention, and artworks.
This set of rosary beads belonged to one of the Marto children, either to St Francisco or to St Jacinta. The beads and crucifix are made of bone; and strung with string or twine.
In the exhibition, this painting did capture my attention. It was painted by Simon Rodrigues in the year 1605; and it is called either ‘Adoration of the Shepherds’ or ‘Shepherds Worshipping’.
He was a Portuguese artist who died in 1629. For the colours to still be so vibrant after over 400 years is amazing.
These are the main entry and exit doors to the Basilica of the Holy Trinity. It has been designed so that when you come out, there is a direct line of sight to the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary.
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9 Aug 2023, 1.08pm Portugal: 9 Aug 2023, 10.08pm Sydney
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