By Lydia O’Kane
A “Family Rosary Crusade” will begin on Thursday in Ireland and run during the month of October, which is dedicated as the month of the Holy Rosary.
The Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, Eamon Martin is inviting families to recite the Marian prayer against the Coronavirus.
Ireland has seen a surge in new cases of Covid-19 in recent weeks. The latest figures from the Irish Department of Health show there have been a further 363 cases of Covid-19 in the country.
There was also one new death reported on Tuesday, bringing the total number to 1,803. New cases of the Coronavirus in Ireland now stand at 35,740.
In Northern Ireland, 424 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed on Wednesday. The death toll stands at 579.
The protection of Mary
Speaking to Vatican Radio, Archbishop Eamon Martin said the idea for the Crusade is to involve as many people as possible in this “shield of protection” against COVID-19.
“I am very conscious of the fact that we’re in such an uncertain time,” he added.
The Archbishop noted that many families are concerned about their own wellbeing and that of their loved ones. He also highlighted the impact the Coronavirus has had on people’s livelihoods.
Quoting Pope Francis’ Urbi et Orbi message from March of this year, he said, “We’re all in the same boat and the storm is out there and we’re battling through, and we do not want to feel alone, so the Rosary Crusade is an attempt to spread this blanket of prayer over all of us to protect us …to keep us safe under the protection of Mary during the month of October and on into the winter.”
The primate described the Rosary as a “pocket prayer book” which people can cling to every day of their lives. “It can be said at any moment of the day, and it’s also a beautiful prayer for the home and for the family.” In the Rosary, he said, “we are telling the story of the deepest mysteries of our faith.”
Due to current restrictions in place to halt the spread of Covid-19, Church services have been suspended in certain regions, and the faithful are being invited to follow Masses online.
Archbishop Martin acknowledged that many people were missing that physical gathering to celebrate the Eucharist either because of fear of going out into crowds or because of restrictions in their region or country.
As the pandemic continues to impact people’s everyday lives, the Archbishop pointed out that this makes the Rosary Crusade all the more important. “It’s not a substitute for the Eucharist but it invites us to enter into gathering in small gatherings in our homes.”
“I think it would be very beautiful if families this October rediscover the wonder and the beauty and the profound depths of the Holy Rosary,” he said.
Archbishop Martin also suggested that the recitation of the Rosary is also something that leads to mission. “I really feel,” he said, "this Rosary mission, this Rosary Crusade has the potential to ignite new evangelization.”