(Vatican Radio) The rector of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary in Fatima, Portugal has announced that the shrine “will be reopened” on February 2nd, the day on which the Church celebrates the Presentation of the Lord at the Temple.
In a press release, Father Carlos Cabecinhas added that renovations have led to a “substantial benefit” for the faithful who wish to pay their respects and pray at the graves of Blesseds Francisco and Jacinta Marto near the main altar.
Until now, Fr. Cabecinhas admitted, “the path that led to the graves of the little shepherds was fairly tricky.” But from now on, he stressed, new arrangements mean the burial places will be more easily accessed by people, and allow them to spend some moments in prayer beside them as well.
According to the Catholic news agency SIR, the bishop of Leiria-Fatima, mgr. António Marto, will celebrate Mass on 2 February, during which “a completely new altar” designed by sculptor Bruno Marques will be consecrated.
Fr. Cabecinhas explained that following the reopening of the Basilica, the celebration of three daily Masses will resume for pilgrims. Begun in 1928, the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary was designed by Dutch architect Gerard Van Kriechen and built by Portuguese architect João Antunes. Consecrated on 7th October 1953, it is 70.5 metres long and 37 metres wide. The Basilica was dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary by Pope Pius XII through the brief pontifical document, “Luce Superna” on 11th November 1954.