The Shrine of Fatima, on the 1st of December, presented the theme for the new pastoral year 2018/2019. The chosen theme is: “Time of grace and mercy: to give thanks to pilgrimage in Church”.

The session started with the opening of the new temporary exhibition dedicated to the centennial of the construction of the little chapel of the apparitions. This exhibition can be visited until October 15th, 2019, on the lower level of the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity.

The Rector of the Shrine, Fr. Carlos Cabecinhas, introduced the theme by emphasizing that during this year we shall reflect more on the experience of being Church, a pilgrim Church and on the meaning of the pilgrimage itself. In 2019, there will be the celebration of two centenaries that are quite relevant in the context of the Shrine of Fatima and its mission: the 100 years of the construction of the little chapel of the apparitions and also the centennial of the death of Saint Francisco Marto, on April 4th, 2019.

The Bishop of Leiria-Fatima, Cardinal Antonio Marto, ended the session by recalling that the Church is a "pilgrim in history" and that she "has not yet reached the fullness", that is, she is in need of permanent conversion, renewal, and with hope, "that God gives as a gift", she will continue walking towards a "final goal". "The pilgrimage can be a beautiful and surprising experience of God. A profound experience of interiority, warning against a "culture of exteriority".

The World Apostolate of Fatima, in line with the pastoral theme of the Fatima Shrine, encourages its members to promote the experience of coming to Fatima on pilgrimage so as to immerse into the richness of the Message of Fatima by visiting its founding sacred places. At the same time, we are also encouraged to celebrate and promote in our places the devotion to Saint Francisco Marto, by means of sharing the story of his life and the heroic virtues of this little contemplative child of Fatima, who loved God so much.