The Pilgrimage to the National Shrine of Mogofores represents an event of great importance for the whole Portuguese Salesian Family, as well as one of the highlights of the provincial pastoral planning. All the more so in 2020, on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the arrival of the Salesian charism in Lusitanian land, it was decided not to cancel, but rather to renew the appointment with all the necessary precautions.
The pilgrimage was divided into two phases: the first, commemorative, began at 10:30 local time, and served to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the arrival of the Salesians in Portugal; the second, at 11:30, consisted of the solemn Mass.
During the first segment, a video was shown of the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, who said he regretted not being able to participate, due to the pandemic, in the pilgrimage "in presence", as per original program. At the same time, he congratulated the whole Salesian Family on the 125 years of presence of the Sons of Don Bosco and noted that such an anniversary offers in the first place an opportunity to thank God for the great good achieved in all these years by the followers of Don Bosco towards many children, minors and families.
Then he also launched an invitation to celebrate the anniversary with a particular disposition of mind: "May it be an opportunity to ask God to continue living our charism with a great identity: we must be the Salesians whose world and young people need today."
And, finally, he concluded: “Celebrating 125 years is a reason to dream of the next few years… And may the Mother of Heaven, Our Lady of Fatima, Mary Help of Christians, always have a favorite place in your hearts.”
The Rector Major was followed by the animation of the Provincial of the Salesians of Portugal, Fr José Aníbal Mendonça, who underlined the importance of finding oneself, in the current circumstances, in devotion to Mary, and urged them to continue the Salesian action of "bringing God to the hearts of young people."
The screening of a short 125-year commemorative video of Salesian action and their current educational-pastoral service preceded the awarding of several prizes to various Salesians and lay people.
The event ended with the solemn Eucharist, presided over by the Provincial and culminating in an act of entrustment to Our Lady by the entire Portuguese Salesian Family.
The entire celebration was broadcast in live streaming on the "Salesianosportugal" YouTube channel, where it is still visible today.