By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
Pope Francis united with thousands of people throughout the world sought the Blessed Mother's help to end the coronavirus pandemic. The Pope along with about 130 gathered at the Lourdes Grotto in the Vatican Gardens. Thousands of others prayed with them as they watched and listened through television, radio and digital platforms. As they prayed, images of numerous Marian shrines throughout the world appeared on a large screen at the Vatican Lourdes Grotto and on the screens of those connected for the event.
The intentions for the Rosary
The first Glorious Mystery was led by a doctor and a nurse in the name of all the medical personnel dedicated on the fronts lines in the hospitals for doctors, nurses and all medical personnel.
The second Glorious Mystery was led by a person who has recovered from the virus and a person who lost a family member to represent those who have been personally affected by the virus for the intention of all military personnel, security forces, fire fighters all volunteers.
The third Glorious Mystery was led by a priest who is a hospital chaplain and a woman religious who is a nurse to represent all of the priests and consecrated persons who are near those who are suffering from illness for the intention of priests and consecrated persons who bring the Sacraments and a word of Christian comfort to the sick. We were reminded that some of their number have lost their lives in serving their communities.
The fourth Glorious Mystery was led by a pharmacist and a journalist to highlight those who continued to provide their precious service for the benefit of others during the time of pandemic. The intention for this mystery was for the dying, above all those dying alone, for those who have died, and for the families who still mourn their deaths.
Lastly, the fifth Glorious Mystery was led by a member of the Italian Civil Protection service with his own family, to represent all those whose work is directed toward managing this crisis as well as the world of volunteers who never failed to bear witness to charity. The second half was led by a young couple who recently had a baby, a sign of hope and of the victory of life over death. This mystery was prayed for all those who need to have their faith and hope strengthened, for the unemployed, for those who are alone and all the babies who have come into the world.
At the beginning and at the end of the recitation of the Rosary, Pope Francis prayed the prayers he suggested be used to accompany the Rosary throughout the month of May. After extending his apostolic blessing, the Pope said a few spontaneous words acknowleding those connected from the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe and other Latin American Shrines: "To all of the shrines in Latin America – Guadalupe and many others – who are connected with us, united in prayer, I greet you in my own mother tongue: thank you for being near. May Our Mother of Guadalup accompany us!"
Approximately 50 shrines were connected throughout the moment of prayer. They included the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico, Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal, Our Lady of Lourdes in France, the Immaculate Conception in the United States, Walsingham in England, Our Lady of Pompeii, Divine Love and Pietrelcina in Italy, Our Lady of Lujan in Argentina, Our Lady of Knock in Ireland, Our Lady of Aparecida in Brazil, St Mary of the Angels in Assisi, Notre Dame in Canada and the Basilica of the Annunciation in Israel.