In an interview on the movement’s website, he said he wasn’t surprised by the initiative’s rapid growth. He explained that, apart from spending half an hour drafting a summons to prayer and sending it to his contacts, he didn’t invest “a dime” in the project.
“What comes out of it shows that, in my opinion, it is blessed by God,” he said.
The formula is simple: every Wednesday, at 6 p.m. local time, participants in “Austria prays” meet together in a public place to recite the rosary.
Laroche noted that the rosary is a prayer that the Church has often turned to in times of crisis. He cited the Battle of Lepanto, a naval engagement that took place 450 years ago on Oct. 7, resulting in a resounding defeat for the Ottoman Empire.
Austria, a country of almost nine million people, has recorded more than 1.2 million COVID-19 infections and 13,282 deaths as of Dec. 16, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
The government lifted a three-week nationwide lockdown for vaccinated people on Dec. 13, but the unvaccinated must continue to follow lockdown measures.