Pope Francis will lead the major shrines around the world in praying the rosary to…
Editorial: Throughout May, join the worldwide Rosary marathon
Over the course of the pandemic, certain powerful moments of national and worldwide prayer stand out. A year ago in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Archbishop José H. Gomez reconsecrated the United States to Mary, Mother of the Church, from the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. And last March, Pope Francis stood alone in St. Peter’s Square, holding a monstrance high as he blessed the Church and the world with the Blessed Sacrament via a livestream broadcast.
This May brings another unique effort to bond together as people of faith and to offer our prayers for the healing of our brothers and sisters and an end to the COVID-19 pandemic: a worldwide Rosary marathon lasting throughout the Marian month. Pope Francis will begin and end the initiative, starting with a recitation of the Rosary on May 1, which will be broadcasted across all of Vatican Media, and ending with another Rosary broadcast on May 31. Every day in between, Vatican News will broadcast a recitation of the Rosary at 6 p.m. Rome time (noon EDT) from one of 30 participating Marian shrines worldwide.
“The initiative will involve all the shrines of the world in a special way, so that they might encourage the faithful, families and communities to recite the Rosary to pray for an end to the pandemic,” the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization said in a statement released in late April that announced the initiative.
The theme will be “The whole Church was fervently praying to God,” a quotation that refers to the Acts of the Apostles 12:5, in which Peter has been arrested and imprisoned, and the Church was praying to God on his behalf. Peter was subsequently rescued from captivity by an angel of the Lord.
There is nothing more natural or fitting for Catholics than a Rosary marathon to lift our prayers up to God for an end to the pandemic. While the phrase “post-pandemic” is being used more often these days, especially in the United States where pandemic fatigue is very real, the event that has changed so much of how we have lived and operated over the past year clearly is not yet over. The pandemic — reinvigorated by worrisome variants — rages at its worst right now in India and Brazil, where thousands of people are dying every day, and where hospital beds and oxygen are once again at a premium. In the United States, more than 380,000 new cases were reported in the past seven days, and the number of people getting vaccinated is expected soon to hit a wall due to vaccine hesitancy. We need to continue our fervent prayers for an end to the virus, for the sick and suffering, for health care workers, for scientists, for those who have died and for their loved ones, and for all of us who have felt the emotional, physical, economic and spiritual strain of the past year in one way or another.
When Mary appeared to three shepherd children at Fátima, Portugal, a little more than 100 years ago, she implored them to pray the Rosary for peace in the world. And, as the pandemic continues to magnify our unrest, peace in the world is what we continue to desperately need.
As we celebrate Mother’s Day and the great feast of Our Lady of Fátima this month, we invite you to join in this prayer effort. Make a plan: select a time, a place, a favorite rosary. Identify a good prayer book to assist you. Meditate on images of the mysteries of the Rosary. Invite a friend or family member to join you. Pray a daily Rosary this month for an end to the pandemic. The Church is inviting us to come together this month to pray the Rosary as a family of believers in Jesus Christ. What an opportunity; what a gift!
As St. Louis de Montfort wrote in “The Secret of the Rosary”: “Never will anyone be able to understand the marvelous riches of sanctification which are obtained in the prayers and mysteries of the holy Rosary. This meditation on the mysteries of the life and death of our Lord Jesus Christ is the source of the most wonderful fruits for those who make use of it.”
Our Sunday Visitor Editorial Board: Gretchen R. Crowe, Scott P. Richert, Scott Warden, York Young