[#] The Off-season at Fatima

Patricia Anstett of the Detroit Free Press has a really keen travel feature about seeing Fatima in the "off season", but I thought it had some apologetic value.

You can read it, but it's not the same without the pictures that were in my local paper's reprint of it this weekend. Comments later today.

Here’s the photo (in full color, just like I saw it in Sunday’s paper) that was pasted over the story:

Here’s the caption:
Praying while holding a rosary, Maria Doceu of Lisbon, Portugal, walks on her knees away from the sanctuary and Basilica of Fatima. Doceu taped chair pads to her knees to make her spiritual journey more comfortable.
Now is that exciting or what? I mean, it is clear that this woman in particular has a very clear picture of what she’s doing and demonstrating. And that’s not all. From the body of the story:
The most devout line up to take their turns crawling on their knees more than 100 feet down a sloping path to the chapel.
This one doesn’t need a lot of theological fine-tuning, I hope. The next time someone tells you that when they pray to Mary they are just having a conversation with her, and that it’s not the same thing as devotion to God, ask them when the last time was that they got on their knees and crawled down a hillside in order to have a conversation with the fellow that sits next to them in the pew at church.

I might be wrong, but I'll bet that they have never gone to that kind of effort just to talk to someone -- even someone important.