By Mark Abrams

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A group of 70 pilgrims will leave Philadelphia Monday night for an eight-day trip to Fatima to mark a special anniversary.

Father Dennis Gill, the rector at the Cathedral Basilica, will lead the trip to Portugal where the group will visit Fatima on the 100th anniversary of what the Catholic church believes were appearances of the Blessed Mother to three shepherd children.

Two of those children, Jacinta and Francisco, were elevated to sainthood last month during a visit to the Marian shrine by Pope Francis.

Gill says the trip is great blessing for him and all those who will accompany him.

“It’s uplifting, encouraging to see men and women of all ages who have such a desire to know the Lord at this moment through pilgrimage, movement toward him, and especially with the added devotion to our blessed mother, Mary,” said Gill.

The group will take part in a variety of religious devotions and tours while in Fatima before heading to France to visit another shrine in Mary’s honor in Lourdes.

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