GNR started at 09:00 today the operation “Fátima at home”, which will continue until Wednesday, with the objective of preventing pilgrims from accessing the sanctuary, said the Operations director, Vítor Rodrigues, to the Lusa agency.
This GNR operation – carried out in connection with the International Anniversary Pilgrimage of May (12th and 13th) and taking into account the covid-19 pandemic – will have a national and a local level.
According to Vítor Rodrigues, at the national level, the operation will involve “monitoring, sensitizing and deterring possible movements, whether on foot or in a vehicle”, involving all commands, from North to South of the country.
“At the local level, with the territorial command of Santarém, we are going to effectively monitor, control, the entry of vehicles in Fátima”, he explained.
The Director of Operations at GNR said that, when accessing the highway, “all vehicles will be controlled, a bit similar to what was done at Easter and in those moments when you could not walk from one municipality to another”.
When people are detected who go to Fátima with the intention of going to the sanctuary, they will be dissuaded from doing so, “because the parks are all closed, so the possibilities of going to the sanctuary do not exist”.
The official welcomed the “fantastic collaborative posture” of the members of the Catholic Church, with whom the GNR has been working “for many weeks”.
“I want to believe that, as has been happening in this country, the overwhelming majority of people follow the orders of the security forces and services. In Fatima, for a lot of reason, this will happen ”, he stressed.
This year, the Shrine of Fatima will celebrate the International Anniversary Pilgrimage of May in the prayer hall, as in other years, but without the crowd of pilgrims that usually fill it.
The celebrations will take place in the enclosure, but this will be closed due to the sanitary rules defined by the Government in the context of the declaration of the State of public calamity, in articulation with the Portuguese Episcopal Conference, and which prevent religious celebrations with the presence of the faithful.
Between the afternoon of the 12th and the end of the morning of the 13th, pilgrims will not be allowed access to any area of the sanctuary.
The rector of the Sanctuary of Fátima, Carlos Cabecinhas, asked the pilgrims not to visit the precinct on the 12th and 13th and to make the pilgrimage “by heart”.