LUDLOW, Mass. (WWLP) – On Labor Day, when the curtain comes down on this Portuguese-American celebration on the grounds of Our Lady of Fatima Parish, it’s more than likely these folks were enthralled by Sunday night’s Candlelight procession from the church.

Ludlow native Tom Petrolati told 22News it’s an experience vital to the lifeblood of Ludlow residents-and others of Portuguese descent visiting from far away.

“The candlelight vigil is something that draws people from all over the Commonwealth and brings us together for the religious Festa,” said Petrolati. “I think this year it culminates after so many people died of COVID, that so many people came for the candlelight vigil and I’m very happy to see that happen.”

On this final day of Festa, both visitors and Ludlow natives alike spoke with reverence about the candlelight vigil. Telling 22News it has come to play such a vital part of the Labor Day weekend activities in this community with its large Portuguese American population.

“I think about what makes it special is the fact it really means so much, the feeling, and the church that makes it special,” said Diana Vitneault of Ludlow.

“It’s been more than 70 years since Festa became a Labor Day weekend mainstay. And together, with Sunday night’s candlelight procession in particular, the visit from across the state or across the Commonwealth becomes an unforgettable experience.