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Fatima 90th anniversary celebrated with new church


A quarter of a million Catholic pilgrims have flocked to the shrine at Fatima to attend the opening of one of the world's largest churches.

The unveiling of the news church coincides with the 90th anniversary of the last time the Virgin of Fátima was reported to have appeared before three Portuguese shepherd children, delivering a series of apocalyptic visions of the future.

Costing 80 million Euros and financed by an estimated five million annual visitors, the new Church of the Holy Trinity can accommodate nearly 9,000 worshippers. Access to its cavernous 12,000sqm interior will be through 13 bronze doors, symbolising the number present at the Last Supper.

Five million people a year travel to Fatima and the numbers are rising.

Local church officials had long complained that the existing basilica was far too small. It comes equipped with five chapels, nearly 50 confessional booths and a café for worshippers to "rest and reflect". The oval building has no internal columns to avoid obstructing live television broadcasts. Computers will keep lighting levels constant and solar panels will provide energy.

The church includes a 500sqm mural of New Jerusalem made of thousands of handmade Portuguese tiles. The walls will bear passages from the Bible in 23 languages.

SOURCE
Fatima's giant church is hiding no secrets(Times Online, 12/10/07)/a>

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15 Oct 2007