Some 30,000 Catholics gathered at about 300 sites along the coast of Northern Ireland and Ireland to pray.
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On November 26, the Feast of Christ the King, an estimated 30,000 Irish Catholics gathered at about 300 sites along the coast of Northern Ireland and Ireland to pray the Rosary.
They had two intentions as they prayed: the restoration of faith among youth in their country and the protection of human life from womb to tomb.
The Rosary on the Coast initiative was organized by five Catholic friends inspired by similar events held recently in Poland and Italy.
“We were very aware of the looming threat to the protection of life in [Northern Ireland and Ireland] and the tragic decline in the practice of the faith,”said Kathy Sinnott, one of the organizers of the coastal Rosary.
Abortions are not allowed under current law in both Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, but the laws are being challenged in both countries.
In Ireland the eighth amendment acknowledges the right to life of the unborn. However a referendum on the eighth amendment is scheduled for May 2018. In Northern Ireland abortion is illegal in almost all circumstances. However the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has also challenged the abortion law in court and a ruling from the Supreme Court is expected in 2018.
Sinnott and her friends began organizing the Rosary on the Coast in early October, spreading the word informally through contacts. “People seemed to instinctively know it was a good idea,” she said.
Originally the goal was to get 53 groups gather along the coast — one for each Hail Mary in the Rosary. However as word spread more and more groups signed up. On November 26 there were enough groups to represent all the mysteries of the Rosary.
November 26 was chosen as the date for the Rosary because Ireland was consecrated to the Christ the King on the feast day in 1940.
Participants in the coastal Rosary were also invited to “plant” a Miraculous Medal in the ground after reciting the Rosary to protect the island.