Loulé celebrates the Feasts of the Sovereign Mother on Easter Sunday and on the 14th of April

Festival of the Sovereign Mother is «the largest religious event in the south of Fátima»

Photo: Mariana Carriço | Sul Informação

Loulé once again pays homage and devotion to the Sovereign Mother, «the largest religious manifestation in the south of Fátima and an identity mark» of Loulé residents, in a celebration that begins on Easter Sunday, March 31st, with the descent of the statue of the Patroness of Loulé to the city and ends on April 14th, with the highlight of the celebrations, the return of the image of Nossa Senhora da Piedade to its sanctuary.

In the 15 days that separate the two moments, the so-called Festa Pequena and Festa Grande, various ecclesiastical and cultural activities will take place in the municipality.

The celebrations begin on Easter Sunday, with the Festa Pequena. «The liturgical program begins precisely in the Sanctuary, with the prayer of the Rosary, starting at 16 pm. At around 00pm, the descent of the Image of Our Lady begins in procession, carried on shoulders by the Men of Andor, to the Church of S. Francisco. It is there that the solemn Eucharist that closes the Festa Pequena takes place», according to Loulé City Council.

From Easter Day until the 14th of April there is a liturgical program, «first at the Church of S. Francisco (from the 1st to the 10th of April) and then at the Igreja Matriz de Loulé (from the 11th to the 13th), a temple that welcomed the altar of Patron saint, for the first time, in 2023.

According to the organization of the festival, Nossa Senhora da Piedade is the Patroness of Loulé, «so it makes perfect sense that her presence is felt in the two parishes: S. Sebastião and S. Clemente. Furthermore, the Loulé Parish Church has recently been restored and is now a National Monument that deserves to be visited by the faithful, pilgrims and tourists».

The procession that will take Nossa Senhora da Piedade de S. Francisco to the Main Church takes place on Friday, the 11th, at 21 pm.

On the night of the 13th, there is a “classic” of these celebrations, the horse pilgrimage of the Equestrian Club, which pays homage to Nossa Senhora da Piedade, at 21:30 pm.

In terms of the cultural program, highlights include the “Mãe Soberana” concert, with Eduardo Ramos Trio (1st April, 21pm), and the Noite de Fados à Mãe da Piedade, with Vítor Viola and Teresa Viola (00th April, 8pm) .

On April 14th, «the most significant moment of the celebrations takes place, the Festa Grande, which attracts thousands of faithful to the city from various parts of the country».

In the morning, the Eucharist takes place at the Main Church and the departure to Largo do Monumento Engº Duarte Pacheco, a place that hosts, at 16 pm, the open mass and consecration to Our Lady.

Around 17pm, the procession begins that will take the Image of the Patron Saint back to her Hermitage, punctuated by emotional moments such as the passage in front of the Town Hall, the Church of S. Francisco or the Convent of Santo António. Along the route, where the Men of Andor are accompanied by the music of the Artistas de Minerva Philharmonic Band, there will be many “Cheers!” to the Mother of the Louléans.

«The triumphal moment will occur with the arrival at the top of the mountain where the small Hermitage is located, after a difficult journey for those carrying the heavy scaffold and for all the faithful who accompany them, this being an enormous demonstration of faith» , describes the Loulé Chamber.

The festivities of the Sovereign Mother constitute a tradition that dates back to the 16th century and are today, «in addition to an amazing moment of Christian faith in this land, one of the main religious tourism routes in the country».