A Fine Demonstration of the European Spirit
The traditional parade preceding the inauguration was up to scratch as usual. The delegations came together in Luis Kondor square on Sunday December 3rd, and this led to some funny scenes as they waited for the parade to set off – accompanied by a brass band, of course, and very fortunately in bright sunshine.
This square, located right in the centre of Fátima, is named after the priest Luis Kondor, originally from Hungary, who worked hard to put Fátima on the map; the procession formed up in front of the stone pillar erected in his memory, and set off behind the ‘Sociedade Filarmónica Ouriense-Banda e DanSing’ band, conducted by Joaquim Neves.
Upon the arrival of Luis Miguel Albuquerque, President of the Ourem Municipality which includes Fátima, Renato Guiomar spoke briefly to greet the gathering and to invite the President as well as AEHT Vice-President Ana Paula Pais to cut the traditional ribbon signalling the departure of the parade. Around the square a number of onlookers followed with interest this colourful crowd come here from other lands, with their flags fluttering in the wind, and many of them in their traditional costumes.
The rousing music played by the brass band soon had the procession marching in step as it wended its way through the streets of the old town, heading as per the itinerary for the shrine of the Virgin Mary for a religious service celebrated in the heart of the shrine, where there stands the first chapel to be built after the visions. Prayer intentions were read out by teachers from the EHF School, and shared by the congregation which consisted mostly of pilgrims.
After the divine service the procession moved off again, this time towards the marquee and still with its musical accompaniment – in a very pleasant atmosphere.