- Title: PORTUGAL: Fatima faithful pray for missing British girl Madeleine McCann
- Date: 13th May 2007
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) LEOPOLDINA SOUSA, PILGRIM, SAYING: "Madeleine's parents should be strong. We should pray and ask to Madonna for her safe return. I believe in her return I have faith." WOMAN PRAYING (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) MARIA FERREIRA, PILGRIM FROM SWITZERLAND, SAYING: "Since the first day I arrived here I have been praying to Madonna for Madeleine to return quickly back to her parents." WIDE PAN ACROSS SANTUARY GROUNDS CROWD OF PILGRIMS (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) CARDINAL ANGELO SOLDANO, VATICAN REPRESENTATIVE DELIVERING ADDRESS, SAYING: "Mary knows that Her children risk eternal salvation and, therefore, repeats the appeal of Jesus: 'Repent and believe in the Gospel' (Mk.1,15). The message of Jesus thus becomes the message of Mary. It is a strong and decisive appeal such as only a mother can make in the important moments of their lives." PRIESTS LISTENING TO SOLDANO SPEECH CLOSING PROCESSION WITH STATUE OF FATMA BEING CARRIED THROUGH THE CROWD VARIOUS OF PILGRIMS WAVING WHITE HANDKERCHIEFS
- Embargoed: 29th May 2007 15:56
- Location: Portugal
- Country: Portugal
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement,Religion
- Reuters ID: LVA9BGHMXQ27X74CM9TC32KBTVC
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: More than 500,000 Christian pilgrims who gathered in the Shrine of Fatima prayed for missing British girl Madeleine who disappeared 10 days ago.
Up to half a million pilgrims on Sunday (May 13) attended the Sanctuary of Fatima to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the first appearance of the Virgin Mary there and many of them prayed for a kidnapped British girl.
The turnout at the Fatima sanctuary, about 150 (93 miles) north of the capital Lisbon, was the highest since Pope John Paul II visited the shrine in 1982, church officials said.
Some pilgrims to the shrine, one of the holiest in Catholicism, carried pictures of missing English girl Madeleine McCann with the word "missing" and prayed to the Virgin Mary to intervene to help find her alive.
McCann, who turned four on Saturday (May 12), disappeared from her bed at an Algarve resort 10 days ago.
"We should pray and ask to Madonna for her safe return. I believe in her return I have faith," said pilgrim Leopoldina Sousa.
"I have been praying to Madonna for Madeleine to return quickly back to her parents," added fellow pilgrim Maria Ferreira.
About 3.5 million people flock to the shrine every year.
Sanctuary officials said John Paul's death, the naming of his successor, and the death in February of the last of the three children who claimed to have seen the Virgin at Fatima, had reinvigorated the faithful.
One of the children who reported to have seen visions of the Virgin Mary later became a nun and is said to have foretold the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II in 1981. The late pontiff placed one of the bullets that nearly killed him in the crown of the statue of Fatima.
"Mary knows that Her children risk eternal salvation and, therefore, repeats the appeal of Jesus: 'Repent and believe in the Gospel' (Mk.1,15). The message of Jesus thus becomes the message of Mary. It is a strong and decisive appeal such as only a mother can make in the important moments of their lives," said Cardinal Angelo Solano, representing the Vatican at Fatima.
The photos of Madeleine carried by many of the pilgrims on Sunday appealed for prayers to Fatima and the three shepherd children for her safe return.
Scores of appeals have been made for Madeleine's return, by her parents, businessmen offering rewards and soccer players.
Police investigators have still not arrested anyone in the case but are working around the clock to find her.
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