It is a time when pilgrims reflect on the reasons why they are going to the ‘altar of the world’: to fulfil a promise, to find a meaning to their life, to honour the Virgin Mary, to reflect, to deepen their faith, to do penance for their sins, or to support family and friends. There are many reasons and each pilgrim has a different one.
Taking the chosen path is most of all a spiritual experience, which requires previous preparation. Some time before going on this journey, you should learn the story of Fatima and the little shepherds, Lucia, St. Francis, and St. Jacinta – you should understand the origin for the devotion of millions of people. You should also reflect on the reasons why you are going on this pilgrimage.
When taking the walks to prepare for you journey, try reflecting on the reasons why you are going to Fatima, on your questions and the answers that you are looking for, and on what you intend to achieve by going on this pilgrimage.
You should take into account that pilgrimage is synonym to sharing, but it is also an individual experience. Before leaving prepare a list of goals for each day: it may be to meditate, to read a psalm from the Bible, to do a special prayer, to re-evaluate your life goals, or to take a vow of silence. In the case of the latter, you should take into account that you will be meeting other people on your way, and they will address you. This is why you should have a visible card stating that you are a pilgrim taking a vow of silence.
Another suggestion is to take a diary with you in order to put your thoughts into words before, during, and after the pilgrimage, and reflect on the journey every day. Begin by registering your goals and reasons for going to Fatima. At the end of each stage, write down your thoughts and provide an account of your day. You can also add pictures or drawings. This is a way to remain focused on your goal and to keep a memory for later.