Three new Fátima routes to improve pilgrims' safety

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 14-09-2019 10:00:00 · 0 Comments
Three new Fátima routes to improve pilgrims' safety

Three new itineraries for the pilgrimage route to Fatima are to improve the safety of pilgrims, as well as enriching their experience with links to cultural and religious heritage, the shrine’s rector, Carlos Cabecinhas, has said.

At an event to present the "Tagus Route", "Nazaré Route" and "Northern Route" itineraries, which are part of a project overseen by the Lisbon-based National Cultural Centre (CNC), Cabecinhas stressed the importance of enhancing the walk and improving pilgrims’ safety.

"The shrine and the CNC want to provide a more enjoyable and safer experience,” he said. “We have the perception that those who come to Fátima always seek the shortest road to reach their destination, but the shortest path is not enough: it is essential that it is the safest.

“That concern was always present in these routes," the rector stressed.

The itineraries, which were drawn up following dialogue with the local authorities and research into the various alternatives, are to be publicised from 16 September, so as to guide pilgrims heading for Fatima on "routes that are ever safer”, he added.

The CNC’s president, Maria Marques Calado, said that the investment in the itineraries was justified by the emotional connection to the place of worship. She noted that the institution she heads was created on 13 May 1945 "when a group of Catholics came to Fatima on a pilgrimage and, in the euphoria of the end of World War II and with the desire to internationalise culture, decided to create an organisation that they called CNC."

Of the various itineraries, the Northern Route is the longest at almost 370 km, starting in Valença and coinciding for the most part with the older Caminho de Santiago (Way of St James), along which pilgrims head in the opposite direction.

"Whoever follows this route gets to know the history, the life of our country's culture over 17 days," said Maria Calado.

The Fátima rector rejected the idea of any "competition" with Santiago, arguing that "the fact that the paths of Fatima and Santiago coincide in Portuguese territory in many sections is an advantage and not a risk.”

The itineraries are being published in Portuguese, Spanish and English and will be distributed mainly by regional tourism boards. By the end of the year, the CNC aims to have a version available online in Italian and German, too.

Portugal’s secretary of state of tourism, Ana Mendes Godinho, who was out of the country, sent a message to the event in Fatima highlighting the importance of the itineraries.


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