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The Fátima procession draws huge crowds to the streets of Macao

The annual Catholic observance has nearly 100 years of history in the city and features a procession from St Dominic’s Church to Penha Chapel.

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UPDATED: 14 May 2024, 12:20 pm

The annual Procession of Our Lady of Fátima took place yesterday evening, attracting a vast number of local and overseas Catholic faithful. 

The event celebrates an apparition of the Virgin Mary, which was witnessed a total of six times by three shepherd children in the Portuguese village of Fátima in 1917. 

First organised in Macao in 1929, the event is scheduled on 13 May each year, with one of the main attractions being the bearing of a statue of Our Lady of Fátima from St. Dominic’s Church to the Penha Chapel in a grand procession.

The event began at 5 pm with the Bishop of Macao Stephen Lee holding mass at St. Dominic’s Church in Chinese and Portuguese, followed by the procession, which was led by three children dressed as the original young shepherds of Fátima. Devotees followed, holding candles, singing hymns and reciting the rosary. 

[See more: City of the Name of God: A guide to Catholic Macao]

One Portuguese participant who spoke to TDM was visibly moved to tears by the event. “Here it has another flavour,” the woman said. “[It’s] even more delicate. This church, the bouquet of gold, all of it is truly impressive.” 

A Hong Kong participant who spoke with the local broadcaster said that Hong Kong also held the event, but pointed out that it was nowhere near as big and that the roads were not blocked off to allow participants to walk freely.

Another attendee, from Kenya, said that it was her first time participating in the procession and said that her home country did not have any comparable events.

The Procession of Our Lady of Fátima was added to the List of Intangible Culture Heritage of Macao in 2019. During the pandemic, the celebration was suspended, although it made its long-awaited return last year. 

UPDATED: 14 May 2024, 12:20 pm

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