Portuguese prayers for Madeleine McCann every Sunday since 2007 disappearance
A special service for missing people will be held in Praia da Luz on Wednesday.
Villagers in Praia da Luz have prayed for Madeleine McCann every Sunday since her disappearance 10 years ago, it has emerged.
Madeleine was aged three when she vanished from a holiday apartment in the Algarve village at about 9pm on May 3 in 2007.
A special church service will be held at the Church of Nossa Senhora da Luz for all missing people, including Madeleine, at 9pm on Wednesday.
It is understood Father Haynes Hubbard, of Canada, the priest at the time of Madeleine’s disappearance, will be present at the service.
“There has been some sort of a service every year and it is always at about the same time that she went missing,” a member of the church said. “There are also prayers for Madeleine every Sunday. They take place every Sunday during the intercession. People have always asked that that continue and all the priests have been happy to do so.”
A public gathering is also expected to take place in her home village in Rothley, Leicestershire, to mark the tenth anniversary of her disappearance.
Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, have vowed to do “whatever it takes for as long as it takes” to find their daughter, who would now be nearly 14.
In an interview with the BBC’s Fiona Bruce, Mrs McCann said: “My hope for Madeleine being out there is no less than it was almost 10 years ago.”
Speaking ahead of the anniversary, the couple described it as a “horrible marker of time, stolen time”.
Last month, Scotland Yard said its officers are still pursuing “critical” leads to trace Madeleine, with officers receiving information on a daily basis.
Local residents described how the disappearance of Madeleine, from apartment 5A on Rua Dr Agostinho da Silva, is now part of the village’s history.
They recounted the minutes after the alarm was raised that the child was missing from the room where she was sleeping as her parents ate supper nearby.
Writer David S Jones, 72, said staff from the then-Mark Warner Ocean Club complex were at his restaurant, the Mirage, when news broke.
“Many of the workers for Mark Warner were gap-year students and were here,” Mr Jones, the creator of Fireman Sam, said. “We closed the bar and everybody went out looking, it was about 10.30pm. We spent days looking for her.”
A local businessman, who did not wish to be named, remembered seeing dozens of people comb the village for Madeleine.
“It is something we will have to live with and we may never know what happened,” he said. “People here never forget – when you walk or drive around, you see reminders of what happened. I remember watching people searching the beach with torches from about 10.30pm. People were searching for days.”