Agenzia Fides REPORT -
Diocese of Bissau pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Natividade for peace and reconciliation
The Diocese of Bissau will go on pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of “Nossa Senhora da Natividade” in Cacheu on 4 December. The event is considered the greatest show of popular religion in Guinea Bissau and involves all the Catholic communities. According to information sent to Fides by the Curia in Bissau, the pilgrim program begins in the early afternoon of 3 December when the faithful will gather in Capó and begin the pilgrimage for 7 km to the city of Cacheu in north-west Guinea Bissau. At about 7 pm a great prayer for peace will be held at the Shrine of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The following day, 4 December, at 7:30 am, again from Capó will be a second pilgrimage by the faithful who will again walk the 7 km to reach the Sanctuary, where Holy Mass will be celebrated at 10 am. At 3 pm, at the conclusion of the pilgrimage, a solemn blessing will be bestowed on all the pilgrims and religious objects that they have with them. The pilgrimage is an act of thanksgiving and an opportunity to renew the commitment to Christian witness in the face of challenges to peace and reconciliation. The Sanctuary dedicated to “Nossa Senhora da Natividade”, Patron of Cacheu, is the first Portuguese church in West Africa, and is a memorial to the arrival of the first missionaries in Guinea-Bissau; Portuguese Franciscan missionaries first settled in Cacheu in 1660.