The Bishop of Leiria-Fátima, António Cardinal dos Santos Marto, announced that the 2021 pilgrimage to Fatima will take place virtually due to existing restrictions in Portugal because of the coronavirus pandemic. The cardinal encouraged the faithful to make a spiritual pilgrimage instead.
In the pastoral message entitled “Eight days of spiritual pilgrimage to the Fatima Shrine” Cardinal Marto explained that the diocese is unable to hold the pilgrimage in person due to the need to protect “the common good of people’s health.”
He said these measures are painful and increase the longing of the faithful to be at the shrine and with the community gathered there in prayer as in the past.
Cardinal Marto asked the faithful to make a generous commitment to make “this extraordinary spiritual pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima,” and said he has prepared the children of the diocese with catechesis to take part in it.
The cardinal promised he will pray in the solitude of the shrine at the feet of the Virgin of Fatima for the end of the “scourge of the pandemic.”
“On the last day I will go to the Fatima Shrine, holding you all in my heart, and there I will pray for you and for the end of the scourge of the pandemic, entrusting us all to the protection of the Mother of Heaven and our patroness.”
Finally, Cardinal Marto invited the faithful to participate in eight days of spiritual pilgrimage between March 14 and 21, and said there will be videos posted on the Diocese of Leiria-Fátima’s social media to assist the faithful in making the virtual pilgrimage.