12 may, 2018
Prayer Area was filled with light on the first day of the international pilgrimage of May
Cardinal of Hong Kong reminded the Marian apparitions, with a message of hope against the “sinfulness”
Today, the Prayer Area of the Shrine of Fatima was filled with pilgrims for the traditional candlelight procession, in the celebration of the vigil of the pilgrimage of May, with the unprecedented presence of a Chinese cardinal, John Tong.
The bishop emeritus of Hong Kong presided to the celebration in the prayer area. The mass was attended by the President of the Republic of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa along with the President of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, who finishes today the state visit to Portugal.
During the homily, the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong suggested a reflection upon the maternal figure of Virgin Mary and her “deep concern” with the history of mankind.
The prelate, who had already mentioned, in the press conference of this afternoon, his strong devotion to the Virgin in China, recalled the apparitions observed in Beijing and Donglü, as a sign of a “loving and requested protection”.
“Mary knows that the cause of the worst human disasters is the sin and She has always showed a deep concern for the sinners, so that they would’t go to hell”, he pointed out in the homily.
Carinal John Tong reminded the apparitions of 1917 in Cova da Iria and the message passed to the Little Shepherds, which contained calls to “conversion”, “prayer” and “sacrifice”.
“Here in Fatima,(the Virgin) requested with persistence to the three seers to pray and to do penance for the conversion of the sinners, for the end of the war and for the world peace, in order to avoid troubles to the world and persecutions of the church” said the Cardinal.
“Let us remain under her cloak of Light. Let us renew our trust in her intercession and in her care for each one of us”, he asked the pilgrims.
The Chinese Cardinal left a message of hope, “mainly in struggles and in sufferings”, inviting the pilgrims to turn to the “protection of Mary”,
The Vigil Mass was concelebrated by 13 bishops and 147 priests.
In this pilgrimage, the first of the post-centenary, 148 organized groups from 26 countries have registered, in a total of 9000 pilgrims, from all the continents; from Asia there are around 350 pilgrims registered, organized in 10 groups. The pilgrims on foot who arrived at Cova da Iria were more than 37 thousand and the overnight accommodations of the Shrine were completely overbooked. All the parks that welcome the pilgrims were also full throughout the day.
The International Anniversary Pilgrimage of May finishes tomorrow, with a Thanksgiving Recital by Andrea Bocelli, in the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity, which is already sold out.