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The first pilgrim statue of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of Fatima arrived the night of January 21st to Tocumen International Airport in Panama.
Presented by a Portuguese delegation led by the rector of the Shrine of Fatima, Father Carlos Cabecinhas, the pilgrim statue was received by a delegation led by the archbishop of Panamá, Msgr. José Domingo Ulloa, and among other guests, the ambassador of Portugal in Panama, Pedro Pessoa e Costa, and the ambassador of Panama in Portugal, Ilka Varela Bares.
Msgr. José Domingo Ulloa called her the second pilgrim of World Youth Day, the first being Pope Francis.
After the official welcoming, the statue continued in an automobile caravan to Our Lady of Lourdes Church, where she was enthroned in a Mass celebrated by the auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese Panamá, Msgr. Uriah Ashley, who greatly appreciated the important presence of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima.
Along the route to Our Lady of Lourdes Church, the people from Panama and the thousands of young pilgrims who are here to participate in World Youth Day made a human chain to allow the holy statue to pass through.
The statue entered Our Lady of Lourdes Church at 10:30 p.m., which was packed with the faithful. Her arrival was announced with fireworks, sirens, and, inside the Church, with Marian songs and applause. Young pilgrims from different countries participated in the Mass, emphasizing the presence of groups from Portugal that arrived in Panama in the last few days.
In his words to those present, the rector of the Shrine of Fatima gave thanks for reception given to the statue and stressed the importance of the message of Fatima as a message of peace and joy to the world.
This pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima will be present during the main events and celebrations of WYD. The WYD program has many activities including moments of prayer, celebration, and personal visits, such as a visit to the female prisoners of the penitentiary on the morning of the 23rd and to the patients of the National Cancer Hospital on the 28th. The statue will be back in Portugal on January 29th.
On May 13th, 1947, according to the norms of Sister Maria Lucía of Jesus and of the Immaculate Heart, the oldest of the three witnesses of Fatima, the pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima was donated by the Bishop of Leiria and solemnly crowned by the archbishop of Évora, two dioceses located in Portugal. From then on, she traveled around the world several times, visiting 64 countries from different continents, some of them on several occasions. For the last few years, she has been enthroned in the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima, in the Shrine of Fatima, where she only leaves on special occasions.
For this pilgrimage to Panama, the Shrine of Fatima ordered a new crown for the statue. It’s designer, Jorge Lé, made the crown, taking the symbolic idea of the Tree of Life described in the book of Revelations.