By Lydia O’Kane
This Sunday, 18 October, the Pontifical Foundation, Aid to the Church in Need, is hosting the worldwide “One million children praying the Rosary”.
The event, which is in its sixteenth year, is inviting children to pray for an end to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Last Sunday, during the Angelus in St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis gave his support to the initiative.
“I encourage this beautiful initiative which involves children throughout the world, who will pray especially for the difficult situation caused by the pandemic.”
The initiative and its beginnings
“A Million Children Praying the Rosary” began in Venezuela’s capital Caracas in 2005, when a group of children came together to pray the rosary for peace.
ACN became involved in the prayer event three years later and took over its organization in 2018.
This year, children from 80 countries and from all continents will be taking part. They include Ghana, Syria and Papua New Guinea.
Coronavirus and prayer
Speaking about the initiative, the Head of Press and Information at ACN, John Pontifex, stresses the Rosary is especially needed at this difficult time.
It’s a prayer that “those who are suffering either from the illness or the economic illness of it, God will hear their cry for alleviation of the plight, and bring an end to this period of pandemic,” he says.
Aid to the Church in Need is working with project partners in many countries where the virus is continuing to spread. Mr. Pontifex points out that countries such as Pakistan, Iraq and Syria have been hit hard.
“We were hearing only last week of the rise in Coronavirus cases, not least in the Ninevah Plains, the ancient Christian heartland there in the Northern part of Iraq, and where families are really now becoming increasingly at risk of catching the virus.”
He goes on to say that there is a huge demand for medical supplies, and in economic terms, people are going for weeks on end without a salary.
He notes that the situation in Pakistan is also particularly difficult for Christian workers as many of them are daily wage earners. “They have the most difficult and least well-paid jobs. They’ve been let go and are really struggling.”
This year, Mr. Pontifex notes, with the onslaught of the pandemic, there is a real call to trust in the Lord, and “the Rosary makes good that determination to trust in the Lord and to recognize that He is particularly open to the intercession of his Blessed Mother.”
Pope Francis' support
Acknowledging Pope Francis’ support for Sunday’s Rosary initiative, Pontifex says the Pope was gracious enough to describe it as a “beautiful event, and he urged people, particularly young people, to take part in this initiative, and noting its special charism this year of praying especially for the critical situation caused by the pandemic.”
ACN’s “A Million Children Praying the Rosary” initiative is inviting young people to pray the devotion on Sunday, 18th October – or the next day if it easier for them to pray together at school.