Lisbon, Oct 13 (EFE) .- Several thousand devotees from 14 countries filled the esplanade of the Portuguese sanctuary of Fatima today on the last pilgrimage of the year, the first with free capacity since the coronavirus pandemic broke out.
Throughout the morning, numerous pilgrims came to the sanctuary to participate in the different religious acts, where a total of 48 organized groups stood out.
Of these, 8 were groups from Italy, although there were also from Spain (3), France (5), the Philippines or El Salvador.
Despite the overcrowding, both in the areas of worship and in the accesses to the sanctuary, there have been no incidents, as reported by the Republican National Guard (GNR), since the pilgrims have maintained social distancing.
This pilgrimage, which is customary every October 13, was presided over by the cardinal and archbishop of San Salvador de Bahía (Brazil) Sérgio da Rocha, accompanied by the cardinal and bishop of Fátima António Marto, among other Portuguese myths.
The events, which have also been followed ‘online’, began this morning with the traditional rosary at 9 a.m. (local time), followed by mass and, later, so that all pilgrims can attend, Three Masses will be celebrated at 3:00 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. (GMT-1).
The liturgies will conclude at 9:30 p.m. with the traditional candlelight procession.
In this way, the sanctuary of Fátima, one of the engines of the tourist sector in Portugal, recovers normality, after a year and a half of restrictions that have greatly reduced the arrival of pilgrims.
In 2019, the Sanctuary of Fatima received a total of 6.3 million visitors.
Fatima, in central Portugal, is one of the main Catholic pilgrimage destinations in the world and is home to the Chapel of the Apparitions, where, according to tradition, the Virgin appeared in 1917.