This week, we’ve seen hundreds of pilgrims, including those in the picture at the left, walking the road through our town. They are part of the thousands of pilgrims on their way to Fátima – a town 75 minutes north of us by car. It is believed that 100 years ago the virgin Mary appeared on three consecutive months to young shepherdesses on the hillside outside of this town. The Catholic Church has constructed a huge sanctuary there. It is common for Catholics who have received a significant answer to prayer to make the pilgrimage by foot to Fátima. This year, being the 100th anniversary, brings a special celebration. The Pope will be there to greet the faithful tomorrow. The Portuguese government has granted a holiday to all public workers (that’s 50% of the workforce) so that they can participate if they so desire. Experts expects 1,500,000 people to attend.
Side note: this morning we saw 16 van loads of crowd control police officers and 10 motorcycle units heading north to help with safety and traffic control.