Excitement in Fatima as thousands await Pope Francis

Excitement in Fatima as thousands await Pope FrancisFátima (Portugal) (AFP) – Tens of thousands of Catholic faithful awaited the arrival of Pope Francis in Fatima with rising excitement Friday as the pontiff took off from Rome en route to the Portuguese holy site. Under a cloudy sky, hymns echoed across the sprawling white esplanade that faces the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima as pilgrims from all over the world prayed, sang or sat in silence. From a rainy morning that saw a spattering of pilgrims join those who had spent the night at the Catholic shrine, the giant esplanade progressively filled up with groups from countries as varied as China, Venezuela and East Timor, some of them proudly waving giant flags.

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