Thousands of Roman Catholic pilgrims form all parts of the world attended the biannual festival in the village of Fatima, in central Portugal, on Thursday (13 October).
GV PAN OVER Crowd gathered in front of Fatima's church as church leaders carry white flags, followed by foreign visitors
LV Statue of Virgin Mary carried though crowd towards church (3 shots)
SV Pilgrims walking on knees around apparitions Chapel PAN UP TO priest during service (3 shots)
SV Women on knees as congregation begins to sing
SV Invalids in wheelchairs
SV PAN FROM Statue of Mary TO Cardinal Joseph Hoffner, archbishop of Cologne, on rostrum during singing (2 shots)
SV Members of congregation during singing of Ave Maria (5 shots)
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Background: Thousands of Roman Catholic pilgrims form all parts of the world attended the biannual festival in the village of Fatima, in central Portugal, on Thursday (13 October). The ceremonies mark the apparition of the Virgin Mary to three peasant children near Fatima in 1917.
SYNOPSIS: The festival has become the major event on the Portuguese religious calendar. Pilgrims visit the Fatima shrine twice a year -- many in the hope of being cured of their illnesses. The first national pilgrimage to Fatima took place in 1927. On the 50th anniversary of the vision, more than a million people visited the village and heard Pope Paul VI saying mass. This year, the faithful were again out in force.
Worshippers moved around the Chapel of the Apparitions on their knees as a sign of their devotion. Many healings have been claimed by people making the pilgrimage -- and the village has several hospitals and guest houses to accommodate hopeful visitors. Since 1927, a pilgrimage has been held in Fatima on the 13th of every May and October -- the vision of the Virgin Mary first appeared on May 13th and again on the 13th of each month afterwards until October.
This year, Cardinal Joseph Hoffner, Archbishop of Cologne presided over the festival. A near record crowd of a million devotees have visited the shrine during the five-month holy season. Only one of the three peasant children the Virgin Mary appeared to is still alive. She is a Carmelites nun in the Portuguese university town of Coimbra.