One of my most memorable experiences at the Cova in Fatima was the evening procession. I felt an overwhelming joy as I joined the other pilgrims.
In the early evening at the Capelinha the crowd gathered. After purchasing candles at the candle stand, the tapers were lit and I joined the growing group of silent participants.
The volunteer workers lifted the bier which held the statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Beautiful, thick flowers and greenery covered the bier.
As the men carried this beautiful image of Mary, the pilgrims fell into place behind her and the procession began.
All of a sudden, the quiet and stillness ended as the entire procession began to sing hymns to Our Lady.
The candles flickered and lit up the night. The hymns united the solemn crowd.
After the rosary was said and more hymns sung, the statue was carried back to the chapel and the procession ended.
A great, reverent quiet filled the square. Everyone I passed smiled and nodded.
I felt a great peace. I was one of the group and we had all smiled and sang with reverence.
This procession was an experience that I will repeat.
You can get a schedule of events, Masses, and all devotions at Fatima at the information desk at the Sanctuary info center or at your hotel desk.
If you are the Cova at night, consider signing up for this religious experience.