The Polish Catholic shrine of Jasna Góra led a global rosary marathon Monday for an end to the coronavirus pandemic.

The sanctuary in Częstochowa, southern Poland, is the third of 30 Catholic shrines worldwide chosen to lead the rosary during the month-long initiative launched by Pope Francis.

Fr. Samuel Pacholski, prior of Jasna Góra Monastery, which houses the revered icon of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa, said: “We feel honored and privileged to take part in this prayer marathon.”

The pope began the prayer marathon on May 1, the start of the traditional month of Mary, when he led the rosary in St. Peter’s Basilica. The initiative will end on May 31 in the Vatican Gardens.

The first shrine to lead the event was Walsingham in England on May 1, followed by the shrine of Jesus the Savior and Mother Mary in Elele, Nigeria, on May 2.

The rosary took place at Jasna Góra at 6 p.m. local time and was live streamed. The Joyful Mysteries were recited in five languages.

The event fell on a significant day for Polish Catholics. May 3 marks the Feast of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, Queen of Poland, as well as Constitution Day, a national holiday.

Poles have venerated Mary as Queen of Poland since King John II Casimir proclaimed her “Queen of the Polish Crown” in 1656. The May 3 feast was established at the request of the Polish bishops after the country regained its independence following the First World War.

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Constitution Day commemorates the adoption of the Polish Constitution of May 3, 1791.

In addition to the prayer marathon, the shrine also hosted a meeting of the permanent council of the Polish bishops’ conference on May 3. Bishops’ conference president Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki presided at a Mass at the shrine marking the Marian feast day.

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The Pauline Fathers, who founded Jasna Góra Monastery in 1382 and serve as guardians of the icon of Our Madonna of Częstochowa, prepared a candle for the prayer marathon.

The size of a Paschal candle, it is decorated with papal insignia, the image of Our Lady, and a photograph of the shrine.

“We are responding eagerly to this papal prayer initiative. Throughout May we will continue praying the rosary, imploring the end of the pandemic,” said Fr. Pacholski.

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