a. Of course they are. Those who cannot pay their promises for one reason or another, and feel they owe such payment, by using their money are relinquishing of a value for which they had to work hard and which could provide them with other comodities rather than simply paying my time.... this is their Sacrifice!
b. I have a document, which I call CERTIFICATE. It is a document stamped throughout the journey on behalf of the worshipper for whom I am paying the promise. The stamps are either from local governmental organisations, church wardens or other local entities (local restaurants and shops if no other entities exist) and certifies of my passage through those locations on the stamped date. The last stamp is that of the village of Fátima. It does not prove anything. It is only worth what you consider it to be worth.... it is more than anything a memento of the payment of the promise.
c. Every time I have a reason to go or someone asks me to go.
d. No. It happens frequently to be asked by people who simply want to show their gratefulness for their lives’ gifts. It is a pure and simply way to show thankfulness, maybe recognition… simple recognition!
e. The journey is Lisbon - Fátima but, as I live in Cascais, and a pilgrim should always start from home, my journey is Cascais – Fátima – always on foot.
CNC (Portuguese National Cultural Centre) has marked a walk, outside the main roads (the Tejo walk). Congratulations to them as this is a beautiful walk and very well sign- posted. During the way there are long stretches of countryside, ideal for reflexion and meditation. This walk crosses small villages, used to receiving pilgrims.
f. It is a traditional figure, much loved in the Middle Ages to whom wealthy families would rely upon to cover, on their behalf, the Sacred Ways, make a wish or show their gratefulness.
As a Pilgrim and Payer of Promises I retake the Tradition.
g. It’s a question of faith. Each one of us will have our own reasons. It is a sense of owing something to the Divine. When, sometimes in desperation, we promise something and receive in return the help needed to resolve our problems, we feel the need to redeem the promise made... to accept this is, above all, to show recognition. It is the feeling of being grateful for the help received, for having obtained the answer to our prayers...
h. It’s a religious sacrifice (in the sense of relieving the land to the divine) and does not involve suffering at all. Sacrifice and suffering are completely different things. My journey is one of meditation and introspection, of gratefulness and veneration, not of suffering.
i. This site has been created so that any worshipper of Our Lady of Fátima can pay a promise. This way, any worshipper in Brasil, Angola, Moçambique, Timor or any other country in the world can get in touch with me.
j. By credit card. Payment is made through BMT Micro, Inc in a safe and practical way. You can also pay by deposit or bank transfer.
k. I only take with me what I need for the next 2 hours, i.e. my own clothes, a small botle of water and, most importantly, a “bordão” (the “bordão” helps me to walk and is a paternal symbol).
Extra weight carried is only for a sleeping-bag, raincoat, and one extra pair of socks and underwear.