Prayer ‘is what will save Nicaragua,’ bishop says

Bishop Rolando Álvarez Bishop Rolando Álvarez of Matagalpa, Nicaragua, walks with other pilgrims to the Shrine of the Divine Child in July 2022. | Credit: Manuel Obando and Diocese Media

During a recent pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Divine Child in the Diocese of Matagalpa, Nicaragua, Bishop Rolando Álvarez said that prayer “is what will save Nicaragua” and called for a “crusade” in the coming months.

The country has been embroiled in a political and economic crisis since 2018, when demonstrations broke out and then were put down by police and paramilitaries, resulting in more than 400 deaths.

“On behalf of all my brother priests of our blessed and beloved Diocese of Matagalpa, I want to call each and every one of you to (join in) a crusade of prayer and adoration for our Church, our priests, and our beloved Nicaragua,” the prelate said July 17 during the pilgrimage’s closing Mass.

Álvarez explained that the crusade will consist of fasting during the day on the first Friday of each month, which is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He also requested that on the coming feast days of the Virgin Mary the Holy Rosary be prayed at 5:30 a.m. and the faithful practice the devotion of praying a thousand Hail Marys.

Among other Marian celebrations, the bishop mentioned the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (Aug. 15), the Nativity of Mary (Sept. 8), the feast of Our Lady of Mercy (Sept. 24), the feast of the Virgin of the Miraculous Medal (Nov. 27), and the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8).

The throng of pilgrims began their journey in the early hours of the morning after attending Mass at St. Peter’s Cathedral.

The Diocese of Matagalpa said on Facebook that the pilgrims walked 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) to the Shrine of the Divine Child, located in Fuente Pura, and that the pilgrimage lasted more than three hours.

The event, which took place after two years of coronavirus pandemic restrictions, was heavily attended by adults, families, children, and young people from various parts of the country.

The pilgrims came to thank the Divine Child for favors received and to ask for his help.

The next pilgrimage is scheduled for July 16, 2023.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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