Every year, thousands of pilgrims make their way to the Shrine of Our Lady in Cova da Iria in Fatima on May 13th to celebrate the Feast Day of Our Lady of Fatima.
This year, some 350 pilgrimage grips had to cancel their trips, and in a week there will be no pilgrims in Fatima to celebrate the the miraculous Marian apparitions that took place 103 years ago.
Bishop of Leiria-Fatima and Vice President of the Portuguese Bishops’ Conference Cardinal António Marto confirmed the news, saying that Portugal was still in “phase 2” of the lockdown, and only just beginning to open back up with “graduality” and “prudence.”
“Even if our hearts would like to be in Fatima, celebrating together in the same place as in 1917, this time, prudence advises us not to. The Church’s decision to follow these indications is dictated by a sense of responsibility so as not to endanger public health, thus also fulfilling the evangelical mandate of love of one’s neighbor.”
Because pilgrims cannot attend the celebration, the Shrine at Fatima is offering an online “spiritual journey,” guided prayer to help you be a #PILGRIMBYTHEHEART
Rector of Shrine at Fatima Father Carlos Cabecinhas invited all the Faithful to join in a “pilgrimage of the heart,” with not a physical path taken, “but interior.” He also invited pilgrims to light a candle in the windows of their homes every day until the 12th of May.
The resumption of public Mass in Portugal is scheduled for the 30th of May. You can take the online spiritual journey on the Shrine at Fatima’s website here.
“This May, Fatima challenges you to go on a more essential pilgrimage: an inner path that may take you far away within yourself, towards the shrine in your innermost where God is present for you. Making yourself a pilgrim by the heart is trying to live inwardly what the pilgrimage experience causes and fulfills. Fatima is calling you. Despite not being able to come to the Shrine this May, come with us on this inner pilgrimage, day by day. And place a lit candle by your window every night.”
Watch the announcement of the spiritual journey below: