Rome (Italy). In the month of May dedicated to Mary, Pope Francis expressed the desire for a ‘marathon’ of prayer to call for an end to the pandemic and the resumption of social and work activities. The initiative, entrusted to the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization (PCPNE), involves the Marian shrines of the world from where, every day, the Holy Rosary will be prayed.

In the light of the biblical expression “Prayers to God went up incessantly from the whole Church” (Acts 12: 5), thirty Sanctuaries representative of the world have been chosen to lead the Marian prayer every day of the month of May, which will be broadcast through the official channels of the Holy See at 18:00, Rome time.

The invitation was extended “to all Sanctuaries in the world, in order to promote the dissemination of the initiative in the relevant Regions, so as to reach all priests, families, and faithful, inviting them to join in this prayer of intercession and hope to the Blessed Virgin.” (Communication PCPNE)

Each day of the month will be characterized by a prayer intention  for the categories of people most affected by the pandemic, including those who have not been able to greet loved ones, health workers, the poor, the homeless, people in economic difficulty, and for all the deceased.

The initiative aims to promote the participation of the people, so that a continuous and widespread prayer is carried out in all environments, including through the means of communication. “This community call seeks to achieve continuous prayer, distributed on the meridians of the world, that rises incessantly from the whole Church to the Father through the intercession of the Virgin Mary. For this reason, the Sanctuaries are called to promote and solicit the participation of the people as much as possible, so that everyone can dedicate a time to daily prayer in the car, on the street with the smartphone, thanks to communication technologies, for the end of the pandemic and the resumption of social and work activities.”

On 1 May 2021, the Pope will begin the month of prayer from St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, in front of the icon of the Our Lady of Help, venerated as early as the 7th century, on which in the last restoration in 2013, the words “Help us” and “Pope Francis” were inscribed , thus entrusting the Pope to Our Lady of Help. On this occasion, the Pope will bless special rosaries that will be sent  to the thirty shrines involved in the ‘marathon’. May 31st  will conclude the month of May from the Vatican Gardens in Rome.

“Mary is the one who at the Wedding of Cana was attentive to the needs of the spouses and she is the one who continues to be attentive to us even today, especially in difficult times. And it is in this tormented period that we must turn to her, our Mother.” (Fr. Stefano Cecchin, President of the Pontifical International Marian Academy).


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