Thousands flock to the shrine of Our Lady of the Nativity Cacheu
This week, Northern Guinea-Bissau’s dioceses undertook a Marian pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of the Nativity in Cacheu, under the theme, “With Mary for a Church of communion, participation and mission.”
The two-day celebrations included a youth prayer march of about 7 km, coordinated by the Youth Commission, followed by evening adoration and a prayer vigil before the Blessed Sacrament till 05 am in the morning. The prayer and liturgical programme was animated by members of the charismatic movement.
A synodal pilgrimage
The closing Mass was presided over by the Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Bafatá, Father Lucio Brentegani. In his homily, Fr Lucio invited the Guinean Catholic faithful to be true missionaries who proclaim the Gospel in Guinea-Bissau.
According to Father Lucio, Guinea-Bissau needs to be the “yeast of the Gospel” so that people’ social and family life can become evangelical, of love, fraternity and solidarity.”
“This Marian pilgrimage is synodal, and the theme is linked with that of the synod -communion participation and mission. After this experience of participation in communion, we implore you as pilgrims to become missionaries in Guinea-Bissau,” said the Diocesan Administrator.
Good ecumenical relations
The Marian pilgrimage was also attended by representatives of the Islamic Community and the Evangelical Church of Guinea-Bissau. The Diocesan Administrator acknowledged and praised their attendance. He urged the people of Guinea Bissau to cherish religious tolerance and coexistence that exists in the country.
“We have different paths, but we are all children of the same land and the same God, and this is what unites us. It is the this very universal brotherhood that Pope Francis always invites us to. We are somehow trying to live it here in Guinea-Bissau,” affirmed Fr Lucio.
According to data from the organising committee, more than 7 000 pilgrims from the two dioceses of the country (Bissau and Bafatá) participated in the pilgrimage.
Representatives of World Youth Day
Also present was a delegation from Portugal of the World Youth Day - Lisbon 2023 organising committee visiting the country.
Father Nuno Coelho, who led the delegation, spoke of his experience during the pilgrimage.
“It was wonderful to see Guinea-Bissau, its various parishes and various movements in a very communitarian way. It was touching to witness the faith alive and to see everyone singing and dancing with joy,” said the WYD representative.
Source : vaticannews