Thursday, May 25, 2017

Grand Duke and Grand Duchess Join Portuguese President for Pilgrimage

Photo: Lex Kleren / Luxemburger Wort /
Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa privately prolonged his stay in the Grand Duchy following the state visit to take part in the  pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Fátima above Wiltz, in the northern part of Luxembourg. He was accompanied by Grand Duke Henri (in the most Portugal-coloured tie you will ever find) and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa for the occasion. The Grand Duchess offered the flowers she received upon her arrival as a gift to the statue of Our Lady of Fátima.
Photo: Domingos Oliveira / RTL /
Each year on Ascension Thursday in Wiltz, tens of thousands of people pay homage to Our Lady of Fátima, the Virgin Mary who appeared six times in 1917 to three children in Fátima, a small village in central Portugal. Two of the children, of course, were recently canonised by the Catholic Church. The shrine of Our Lady of Fátima above Wiltz was set up in 1951 by a group of local parishioners, who, having taken refuge in a cave during the Battle of the Ardennes in the winter of 1944-45, promised to erect a sanctuary after the war if they survived unharmed. It was officially inaugurated on July 13, 1952.
Photo: Domingos Oliveira / RTL /
The first official pilgrimage to the sanctuary was made more than 15 years later by about a hundred people, almost exclusively from the Portuguese community who had migrated to Luxembourg in the 1960s. It has since grown to about 20,000 pilgrims each year. While this year marks the 100th anniversary of the apparition of the Virgin Mary to the children of Fátima, the pilgrimage in Wiltz took place for the 50th time. It remains especially popular with people of Portuguese ancestry living in Luxembourg, which make up an estimated 120,000 of the 550,000 people living in the Grand Duchy. 

Pictures and video at Wort, Contacto and RTL.

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