2016-12-25 Mary

So, with Portugal being catholic and the Portuguese being very catholic and all it is fair to say there is pretty much worshipping going on.

Lisbon alone has enough churches for you to go to a different one nearly each day of the year. And it is a safe bet that the smallest township across the country has their own magnificent church to show for. The guide book writers must have had a great day when they discovered they can actually write a story with something to see in the smallest of village across Portugal. Because, indeed there was and is quite some cash for interior and exterior design going into those places. And with wars and changing kingships in combination with the worshipping, there was a lot of thanks to be made after each won battle, thanks to be made to the holy church for all the prayers that led to grand victories. Thanks that were made in the form of donations for the building and decoration and remodeling of beautiful, rich churches. So there is a lot to be bewildered by in each place. Especially if you are a guide or a catholic.

Being Catholic means a lot of the worshipping that goes on in the churches across Portugal, as opposed mainly to protestant countries, is directed not only towards God and  Jesus, but also towards Saints. So, except for the fact of being a very much more religious country to start with, the worship of Saints also accounts as a part explanation as to why there are so many churches here. There’s simply very much more to build them all around and to.

A whole lot of the worshipping is directed towards the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus. Amongst many other places dedicating their churchly resources towards this particular lady there is this one town that seemingly exists just because of her. In addition to the original worshipping of her going on there, the place was bestowed with a  miracle in the early 20th century, prophecies were spoken by children and later on one of those children was canonized and, boom, a site for massive pilgrimage was born. Because of the content of one of the prophecies the town even had the Pope himself visiting and blessing it. Safe to say the event went from very big to huge. The place has a bigger courtyard leading up to the original church where the children Saints now have their tombs than the Peters square in the Vatican itself. It also has an extreme excess of empty parking lots, empty hotels and empty restaurants. At least that’s what it is in the non-peak seasons, which is all year except for one week in spring and one in fall. And all these places go by quirky divine-ish names. Haleluia hotel for one.

I gotta say the town stood out and talked to me in an echoing type of way the same way those Swedish towns do that seem to exist only because of that one particular music festival taking place there one week each year. And that week, the town blossoms and lives, it literally sings with joy and the atmosphere is, well, holy.

So, is this bottom line where religion and the worshipping that goes with it finds itself in a post modern society? Is it music that is the new opium to the people?

So, what's your thoughts?