FATIMA, Portugal, JULY 29, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Various youth groups headed to a Madrid meeting with the Pope are stopping in Portugal on the way.
Several itineraries for the Aug. 16-21 World Youth Day in Spain have included Fatima in the schedule, either before or after the events with Benedict XVI.
The director of Pilgrimage Services at Fatima, Natalina Ferreira, reported that 64 groups are so far scheduled for a stop in Fatima, 45 before Youth Day and 19 afterward. The majority of these groups are made up of around 100 pilgrims, though one group, from Latin America, has 2,500.
Native Portuguese youth are also planning a stop with Our Lady before heading to Spain.
Ferreira noted as an example the group from Lisbon, with one group of 2,000 and another of 350 stopping at the Fatima shrine.
Ferreira spoke of the efforts at the shrine to welcome the pilgrims, noting Masses held in Italian, English and Spanish, as well as Portuguese, expanded openings during the days when most of the youth will be in Fatima, and the reservation of various prayer spaces.