Presided over by Cardinal Sérgio da Rocha, archbishop of Salvador da Bahia, Brazil - who was invited to preside over the ceremonies in 2020, but who ended up not traveling to Portugal due to the pandemic -, the celebrations on Tuesday and Wednesday have already seen 37 groups of pilgrims of 12 nationalities register, which points to the gradual return to normality in the Sanctuary of Cova da Iria.
The October pilgrimage, which celebrates the 6th Apparition of Our Lady, with particular emphasis on the so-called “miracle of the sun”, is the last great anniversary pilgrimage of a pastoral year still very effected by the pandemic, for which, “despite on this date, a progressive and responsible easing of lockdown is in progress, it will be mandatory to wear a mask and use hand sanitiser at the entrance to the enclosure”, said the Sanctuary of Fátima.
“Some information to pilgrims will be reinforced by using additional signs to the existing ones. The Shrine recommends special care and prudence to pilgrims and participants who are part of a risk group and who wish to participate in the celebrations.
The rector of the Shrine of Fátima, Father Carlos Cabecinhas, underlined in a recent message to pilgrims that this new stage represents an “opportunity” after “a year and a half after so many deprivations and sacrifices in the name of (…) health and love for others ”, with “each one (…) being responsible for ensuring a serene and progressive transition to normality”.
“With a new horizon, with our eyes already set on the October Pilgrimage, we leave a renewed invitation for you to come to Cova da Iria, with the same responsibility that we were used to during this time of pandemic, but without other constraints, other than those of new individual protection and protection of others, such as the use of masks and the necessary distance” said the person in charge of the Shrine of Fatima in the message.
The pilgrimage officially begins on Tuesday, at 9:30 pm, with the recitation of the rosary, in the Capelinha das Aparições, followed by a procession of candles and celebration at the altar in the enclosure. On the 13th, at 09:00, the rosary will be recited, followed by an international mass, with prayers for the sick and a farewell procession.