Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Tuesday 27 July |
Saint of the Day: St. Simeon Sylites
home iconInspiring Stories
line break icon

First blind man ordained to the priesthood in Portugal celebrates Mass in Fatima

Tiago Varanda

Santuário de Fátima | Facebook | Fair Use

Aleteia - published on 07/28/19

He wants to dedicate his priesthood to Mary to be more closely united to Jesus.

Fr. Tiago Varanda, who has been blind since the age of 16 due to congenital glaucoma, was ordained to the priesthood at the Marian shrine of Our Lady of Sameiro in Braga, Portugal, on July 15, 2019. The 35-year-old is reportedly the first blind man on the record to be ordained to the priesthood in Portugal, although there are other blind priests in that country who lost their sight after ordination.

Consecration to Mary

The day after his priestly consecration, Fr. Tiago went to Cova da Iria to celebrate Mass at the Chapel of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima and to dedicate his priesthood to her. In declarations to the Press Office of the shrine (published on the shrine’s website), he said:

“Fatima has always been a special place for me, since I was a child, and at this important moment in my life, I wanted to come to consecrate also my priestly ministry in Mary’s hands, because I know that, with her, I can be united to Jesus more easily.”

The unique experience of a blind priest

The newly ordained priest had already visited the shrine while he could still see. Naturally, the way he experiences it now is different.

“The sounds of the people, of the bell, and the occasional bird, transport me to this peaceful place, and the characteristic scent of the candles [carries me] to devotion and reflection … Everything [moves] very slowly and serenely, which helps me a lot to stop and concentrate on God,” he said.

In his words published by the shrine of Fatima, Fr. Tiago talks about the limitations he experiences because of his disability, and about how the loss of his sight may give him a unique experience in exercising his priestly ministry.

“Not being able to see allows me not to get so distracted by external things, although, internally, I have to make the same effort, so often difficult, to achieve concentration and interior silence. Also, I feel like my other senses are becoming more acute, especially hearing, which is the ability to listen, which can be a gift so I can be a priest who listens better to people in their dramatic situations, in their joys, and in their faith.”

Inheriting a legacy of service

The Eucharistic celebration in Fatima was concelebrated by Fr. Tiago and two other newly ordained priests, Fr. Jorge Gonçalves and Fr. Pedro Oliveira, as well as “veteran” priest Monsignor Joaquim Fernandes, who is 103 years old and was celebrating his 74th anniversary of priestly ordination that day.

The presence of old and new generations of priests at the altar highlighted the continuity of the gift of the priesthood, passed on since Christ first instituted the sacrament. When Mass ended, the members of the congregation greeted the celebrants with hearty applause.

Let us pray that these young priests may serve the Church faithfully and joyfully for many years, following in the footsteps of priests like Mons. Fernandes!


Read more:
How a newly ordained priest really feels

Read more:
Italian priest concelebrates his 100th birthday Mass with his 4 sons, also priests

Inspiring storiesPriesthood
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Philip Kosloski
This morning prayer is easy to memorize
Daniel Esparza
5 Curious things you might not know about Catholicism
Joachim and Anne
Philip Kosloski
Did Jesus know his grandparents?
J-P Mauro
Reconstructing a 12th-century pipe organ discovered in the Holy L...
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been know...
Cerith Gardiner
5 Ways grandparents impact our lives for the better
Sarah Robsdottir
What we can learn from Elon Musk’s housing decisions
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.