Bandel (Fides Service) - In this season of Lent thousands of Catholics are making their way to the Marian Shrine at Bandel, in the Indian state of West Bengal, for the customary annual Lenten pilgrimage in preparation for Easter. “Recently at least 12,000 faithful took part in the 400 years old traditional procession”, the rector of the Basilica of Bandel, Salesian Father Thomas Pulickal told Fides. Pilgrims from all over India come here to pray, participate at Mass and make the Stations of the Cross with great devotion. In Bandel there are about 1,000 resident Catholics, but the Catholic population swells during the six weeks of Lent when this Marian Shrine, one of the oldest in the country, is visited by large numbers of pilgrims.
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 21/2/2005 righe 18 parole 181)