By Fr. Benedict Mayaki, SJ
Pope Francis has invited “every family, every member of the faithful and every religious community” to pray the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary at 9:00pm on Thursday, 19 March.
At the General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis put his support behind the Italian Bishops’ call for prayers. He also affirmed that he would be praying for and with the country in these trying times. The Pope also invoked the intercession of St. Joseph and the Blessed Mother on the sick and upon all those who take care of them.
In a statement, the Bishops of Italy thanked the Holy Father for his “closeness which becomes a motive for support and an encouragement to pray and walk together along the paths of the Gospel”.
They announced that the intention for Thursday’s Rosary “would be an invocation and supplication of the Father’s mercy to deliver us from this pandemic”.
Pope's video message
Pope Francis prepared a video message for the event. Here follows the text of Pope Francis' entire video message. A portion can be viewed above.
Dear brothers and sisters,
I unite myself to the moment of prayer that the Episcopal Conference [of Italy] is promoting, as a sign of unity for the whole country.
In this unprecedented situation, in which everything seems to be crumbling, let us help each other hold fast to what really matters. This is the advice I have received in so many letters from your Pastors who, in sharing such a dramatic moment, seek to sustain your hope and your faith with their word.
The Rosary is the prayer of the humble and of the saints. In its mysteries, they contemplate, along with Mary, the life of Jesus, the merciful face of the Father. O, how much we all need to be truly comforted, to be wrapped in loving presence!
We measure the truth of this experience through our relationship with others. At this moment, they are our closest relatives. Let us be close to one another, being the first to be charitable, understanding, patient and forgiving.
Though you may be confined to your own homes, allow your hearts to expand so they may be available and welcoming to all.
Tonight, we are praying together, entrusting ourselves to the intercession of St. Joseph, Guardian of the Holy Family, Guardian of all our families. Even the carpenter of Nazareth knew the precariousness and bitterness. Though he worried about the future, he knew how to walk the darkness of certain moments, always letting himself be guided by God's will without reservation.
Prayer to St Joseph
Protect, O Holy Guardian, this our nation.
Enlighten those responsible for the common good, so that they might know — like you do — how to care for those entrusted to their responsibility.
Grant intelligence of knowledge to those seeking adequate means for the health and physical well-being of their brothers and sisters.
Sustain those who are spending themselves for those in need, even at the cost of their own safety: volunteers, nurses, doctors who are on the front lines in curing the sick.
Bless, O St Joseph, the Church: beginning with her ministers, make her the sign and instrument of your light and your goodness.
Accompany, O St Joseph, our families: with your prayerful silence, create harmony between parents and their children, in a special way with the youngest.
Preserve the elderly from loneliness: grant that no one might be left in desperation from abandonment and discouragement.
Comfort those who are the most frail, encourage those who falter, intercede for the poor.
With the Virgin Mother, beg the Lord to liberate the world from every form of pandemic.