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Father Jovanete Paulo Vieira, MIC, the superior vicariate of the Marian Fathers in Portugal.

There Is Room at the Inn

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By Marc Massery (May 12, 2018)
In April 2017, the Marian Fathers opened the doors to a fully renovated four-star hotel in Fatima, Portugal, just two minutes from the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima.

Father Jovanete Paulo Vieira, MIC, the superior vicariate of the Marian Fathers in Portugal, says that the Marians currently have nine priests and one brother serving 19 parishes throughout Portugal, one of which is in Fatima.

The hotel, called the Essence Inn Marianos, was originally two buildings: a seminary and smaller hotel for pilgrims. Beginning in 2010, Fr. Jovanete oversaw a project to renovate these buildings and create a more accommodating place for travelers. "Since the buildings needed a lot of renovations, we decided that we should make it nice," he said.

More than simply a four-star hotel, the Essence Inn Marianos runs on the principle of mercy. Twenty percent of the hotel's employees have a mental or physical disability. "We do not have people who are disabled just to have them. They are all very capable," Fr. Jovanete said. Of the 91 units, 38 are handicap accessible. Father Jovanete believes that the Essence Inn Marianos can accommodate handicap guests better than any other hotel in Portugal. Furthermore, much of the hotel's utilities runs on sustainable energy. Solar panels cover the roof, and a rainwater collection system helps to cut down on waste.

The hotel, of course, also has a Catholic chapel as well as a candle boutique, a restaurant, an indoor pool, and a business center with meeting rooms. Every bedroom is adorned with a small sculpture of the Blessed Virgin Mary, crafted out of scented wax. Each of the five floors, in fact, can be identified by its own scent, including fruit, floral, natural, woody, and oriental. "If someone [with poor vision] stays with us, they could even identify their floor based on the smell," Fr. Jovanete suggested. The Marians are planning to incorporate a smart-phone software called "My Eyes," which would enable blind visitors to make their way around the hotel with greater ease.

After paying off the construction costs, future proceeds from the hotel will go towards sustaining the Essence Inn Marianos and supporting the Marian seminarians in Portugal.

Father Jovanete knew that the hotel was a success when 10 disabled pilgrims could all stay together at the Essence Inn Marianos because of the inclusive accommodations. "We wanted more than just a hotel," Fr. Jovanete said. "We wanted to meet the needs of all people."

Email info@marianos.com or visit e-marianos.com for more information.

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