Pope Francis to launch rosary ‘marathon’ for end to pandemic

Pope Francis prays at the Lourdes Grotto in the Vatican Gardens May 30, 2020. Pope Francis prays at the Lourdes Grotto in the Vatican Gardens May 30, 2020./ Vatican Media.

Pope Francis on Saturday will lead a rosary to begin a month-long prayer marathon for the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pope’s rosary will be broadcast live from the Gregorian Chapel of St. Peter’s Basilica at 6 p.m. Rome time on May 1.

Situated directly to the west of the Holy Sacrament Chapel, the Gregorian Chapel contains the relics of St. Gregory of Nazianzus, a Doctor of the Church, as well as a 7th-century icon of Our Lady of Help.

The rosary kicks off a month of daily rosaries prayed at Catholic shrines around the world for the intention of an end to the coronavirus pandemic and the resumption of work and social activities.

Families, teens, and young adults from Rome and the surrounding region will lead the rosary together with Pope Francis.

During the event May 1, Pope Francis will also bless rosaries to be sent to the 30 Marian shrines participating in the daily live-streamed prayers.

Among these are the shrines of Our Lady of Walsingham in England, the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in the United States, Our Lady of Częstochowa in Poland, the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary in South Korea, Our Lady of Aparecida in Brazil, Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage in the Philippines, Our Lady of Knock in Ireland, the Virgin of the Poor at Banneux in Belgium, Notre Dame d'Afrique in Algeria, Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima in Portugal, and Our Lady of Health in India.

Participating shrines in Italy include the Holy House of Loreto and Shrine of the Virgin of the Rosary of Pompei.

The other global shrines are Jesus the Saviour and Mother Mary in Nigeria, the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, Our Lady of Lujan in Argentina, Our Lady Queen of Peace at Medjugorje in Bosnia, St. Mary’s Cathedral in Australia, Our Lady of Lourdes in France, Meryem Ana in Turkey, Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Cobre in Cuba, Our Lady of Nagasaki in Japan, Nuestra Señora de Montserrat in Spain, Notre Dame du Cap in Canada, the National Shrine Our Lady Ta’ Pinu in Malta, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in Mexico, Mother of God in Zarvantysia in Ukraine, Altötting in Germany, and Our Lady of Lebanon in Harissa, Lebanon.

Pope Francis will also close the month of rosaries by leading the prayer in the Vatican Gardens May 31.

The initiative, organized by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, is in response to a request from the pope.

“Pope Francis wishes to involve all the shrines around the world in this initiative, so that they may become vehicles of the prayer of the entire Church,” a press release said. “The initiative is being conducted in the light of the biblical expression: ‘Prayer by the Church was fervently being made to God’ (Acts 12:5).”

The Vatican’s evangelization office said it had “extended this invitation to all the shrines around the world, in order to promote the diffusion of the initiative in the relevant regions, so as to reach priests, families, and all the faithful, inviting them to join in this prayer of intercession and hope to the Blessed Virgin Mary.”

All Catholics are invited to participate in the daily rosaries however and wherever they are able, the press release said.

A liturgical guide, available in English, Spanish, and Italian, can be downloaded from the website of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization.

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