Our first activity of the day was at the Church of St Dominic. We briskly walked to the church for a short service in both Portuguese and English before splitting off into groups to visit the Shrine of the Sacred Heart. It was a long trek up the slope to the top but eventually we made it! It was gorgeous both outside and in with stunning architecture and a great view of the sea!
Afterwards, after having built an appetite from our hike we travelled to a local school for lunch, impressed by the number they were serving.
Once our stomachs were full, we walked down to a museum boat called Gil Eannes, a hospital ship with a strong religious background before having some down time. During our down time there was a cultural festival with traditional dance and music and lots of us went there. Fr Seelan was kind enough to live stream it to those back at the hostel and elsewhere, before we went back to the school for dinner.
After this we went to a Mass, back at the Church of St Dominic, that was primarily in Polish with some elements of Portuguese and English throughout. The church was again crowded! Once Mass was over, we were given the option of some more free time before we headed back to the hostel to call it a night.
My stand-out part of the day was during the international welcome at St Dominic’s church in Viana do Castelo. There was a very special Pentecost moment when over 1,000 pilgrims from the UK, Poland, Portugal and elsewhere all joined hands across the church aisle to say the Lord’s Prayer in their own languages. It brought some to tears.
Later in the day, when we visited the Cathedral in Viana do Castelo, our enigmatic Portuguese host Fr Pablo de Lima, who is currently studying in Cambridge, told us of a special connection between the Diocese of Viana do Castelo and the Diocese of East Anglia. Both were founded by Pope St Paul VI in the 1970s, a statue of whom is in the cathedral.
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