If you’re too sick, too busy or just too lazy to embark on a pilgrimage to the holy shrine of Fatima, in Portugal, you can just hire Carlos Gil to do it for you. The 52-year-old real-estate agent charges €2,500 ($2,700) for every 100-mile journey he takes on foot in the name of someone else.
Carlos Gil started offering the unusual service, which has been referred to as “pilgrimage by proxy”, 16 years ago, when he got this “crazy idea” of reviving a 700-year-old tradition. In the Middle Ages, wealthy noblemen who were to sick or too busy to go on pilgrimage themselves would hire others to do it for them. The practice is virtually unknown t most people, as the Catholic Church frowns upon renting someone to visit a holy place in your name. Gil believes he is the only person offering the service in Portugal, and one of the few in the world.