Maputo, Mozambique (Tuesday, May 15, 2018, Gaudium Press) Thousands of African faithful gathered for the annual pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Namaacha. Under the motto “Mary Mother of Youth, and model of Faith and Vocation discernment”, the participant walked all night on May 12 to reach the Shrine on May13.
This shrine was built by the Portuguese to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions and it is the first Marian Shrine dedicated to Our Lady throughout Africa.
It is located in Namaacha, just over 70 kilometers from the center of Maputo, the Mozambican capital.
This is one of the largest -if not the largest- Catholic celebration in the entire African Continent. The pilgrimage attracts an impressive number of believers twice a year, on May 13 and October 13. People of all ages and conditions walk, some coming as far as two days walk, to praise Our Lady of Fatima.
Enduring the cold weather of this time of the year, hunger and fatigue, the pilgrims move forward with enthusiasm, praying and singing, following the procession. Songs are mostly in local dialect and also in Portuguese, which are said in honour of the Mother of God and at the same time to keep the spirit alive.
The Mozambican branch of the Heralds of the Gospel played a fundamental part in this year’s procession, encouraging the faithful throughout the entire way mostly with prayers and songs accompanied by their energetic fanfare.