600,000 Mark Anniversary of Fatima
FATIMA, Portugal, MAY 13, 2001 (Zenit.org).- More than 600,000 people crowded
the Marian shrine here on the 84th anniversary of the first of the 1917
apparitions of the Blessed Virgin.
Today also marked the first
anniversary of the beatification of Jacinta and Francisco Marto, two of the
three young shepherds who saw the apparitions, and the revelation of the third
part of the Fatima "secret."
Today's celebration was presided over by
Cardinal Antonio Marķa Rouco Varela, archbishop of Madrid and president of the
Spanish bishops' conference.
Authorities planned strict security for the
event, Reuters reported. Cardinal Ruoco is an outspoken critic of the Basque
separatist group ETA. This year's Fatima anniversary coincided with regional
elections in Spain's Basque Country, where ETA has been fighting for an
independent homeland for 30 years.
The cardinal's itinerary was kept
secret, and Fatima sources said security today would be as tight as it was
during last year's visit by Pope John Paul II.