Thursday, June 26, 2008
A note from Lisbon Airport. Not the nicest place to be when your flight is delayed and there is no information about when we might be likely to depart! In any case, it gives the opportunity to reflect on the past few days in Fatima.
Like most other Marian shrines that I have had the opportunity and fortune to visit, Fatima is primarily a place of prayer and penance. Many Irish pilgrims, young and old, visit here every year. I always take the opportunity when in these places to talk about vocations and the Dominican vocation particularly. I believe it is always necessary to find the opportunities wherever and whenever they arise to encourage people to pray for vocations. And because pilgrims go to Fatima (and other places of pilgrimage) to pray I ask for their help in praying for vocations to the Irish Dominicans. Fundamentally, vocations grow out of the prayer of the Christian community - and I believe that no prayer goes unanswered.
Visiting Fatima is a humbling experience. One gets the opportunity to meet all sorts of people who visit for all sorts of reasons - wanting to know God more fully in their lives, and seeking comfort, solace and peace. Many of course, return over and over again in thanksgiving.
With the Lord's help, the prayers of the pilgrims I have been accompanying this past week will not go unanswered. It has been a great experience.