22,000 people pray ‘living rosary’ for peace in violence-plagued Mexican state

Mexico living rosary An aerial view of the León city stadium in Guanajuato state in Mexico, where approximately 22,000 people gathered on Nov. 5, 2023, to participate in the traditional “living rosary,” an expression of faith in search of peace. | Credit: Rosario Viviente León

Approximately 22,000 people gathered on Nov. 5 in the León city stadium in Guanajuato state in Mexico to participate in the traditional “living rosary,” an expression of faith in search of peace.

Speaking with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, Father Roberto Guerrero Velázquez, organizer of the prayer service, said the intention this year was to reflect on the “commitment and responsibility to care for each other together and to build the social fabric so that society may have peace, beginning with personal peace and then peace in the family.”

At a time when the state of Guanajuato has faced challenges related to violence, recent figures from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography show that the state recorded the highest number of homicides last year, with 4,329 deaths attributed mainly to shootings, stabbings, and strangulation.

During the ceremony, representations were performed and meditations given on each mystery of the rosary with the theme of “The Lord bless us and his people with peace.” According to Guerrero, the theme was chosen to promote the “integral progress of society, regardless of ideologies or fashions, but focusing on the commitment to the kingdom of God.”

The Mexican priest noted that this tradition originated 69 years ago, inspired by the apparitions of Our Lady of Fátima in Portugal in 1917, when the power of the holy rosary to bring about peace was revealed.

“The rosary is a devotion that unites us and allows us to look with the eyes and heart of our beloved and most holy Virgin Mary,” he explained.

When praying and meditating, the priest said, “God acts [in us] with a liberating force, but he charges us to be responsible, that is, to be better people. He allows us, therefore, to be a fertilizer, a force, germ, and seed of the kingdom of God.”

During the living rosary event at the León stadium, which has a capacity for 31,297 people, Archbishop Alfonso Cortés called on the faithful to fight against violence and expressed his solidarity with the families who have suffered its scourge.

“Peace is the gift of the Holy Spirit. When the Church was born, the greeting to the apostles was ‘Peace be with you.’ And it comes from hope, it cannot happen without hope. Peace is the gift of God and we have to build it,” the prelate said.

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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