Twice a year, in the small central Portuguese village of Fatima, pilgrims gather to celebrate the visitation of the Virgin Mary to three shepherd children in 1917.
Twice a year, in the small central Portuguese village of Fatima, pilgrims gather to celebrate the visitation of the Virgin Mary to three shepherd children in 1917. This year, thousands of Roman Catholics made the journey to Fatima in hope of cures from crippling illnesses.
SYNOPSIS: For many Roman Catholics the pilgrimage has become a ritual of hope. Thousands come searching for miraculous cures from the Virgin Mary. The pilgrims lit giant candles in her honour.
Leading the procession was Bishop Mourisca, from Angola. He preceded the statue of the Virgin Mary, which is carried during each pilgrimage around the village before being returned to the nearby cathedral shrine. The thousands of worshippers waved white handkerchiefs in a symbolic farewell to the Virgin's statue.
Scores of invalides attended the ceremony. The Fatima pilgrimage is reported to have been the scene of numerous miraculous cures in the past, and many come in hope of a repetition.
The original miracle is said to have taken place in 1917, when the Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children and asked for a chapel to be built in her honour in Fatima. Only one of those children is still alive, and the worshippers' faith in the miracle lives on and still draws many thousands for this re-statement of their belief.