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Pope adds an intention to Rosary Relay for end of pandemic


Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 05/03/21

The Church in Myanmar is asking us to pray for peace with a Hail Mary in our daily Rosary.

Pope Francis started the Marian month by leading a Rosary in St. Peter’s Basilica for the end of the pandemic. Thirty-one shrines from around the world are taking turns each day of May to lead the Rosary for this intention.

You can follow the Rosary each day at noon EST here.

On May 2, after praying the Regina Caeli, the Holy Father noted the initiative, and added another request.

In this context, there is an initiative that is very close to my heart: that of the Burmese Church, which invites us to pray for peace with a Hail Mary for Myanmar in our daily Rosary.

Each of us turns to our Mother when we are in need or in difficulty; this month, we ask our Mother of Heaven to speak to the hearts of all leaders in Myanmar so that they may find the courage to walk the path of encounter, reconciliation and peace.

On Sunday, May 16, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome for the community of Myanmar faithful residing in Rome, the Holy See Press Office reported on May 3.


Beginning the Rosary relay

On May 1, Pope Francis arrived to St. Peter’s, greeted by a group of young people bearing lighted candles. They processed to the Gregorian Chapel, which houses the ancient image of the Madonna del Soccorso (Our Lady of Help). The image, a 16th century copy of an earlier fresco from the original St Peter’s Basilica, was newly restored in 2013, the first year of Pope Francis’ pontificate.

The Pope’s intention for the beginning of the Rosary Relay was “for the entire world wounded by this pandemic.”

“At the beginning of this month dedicated to Our Lady,” the Holy Father said, “We join together in prayer with all the sanctuaries spread throughout the whole world, with the faithful, and with all persons of good will, to entrust into the hands of our Holy Mother the whole human race, sorely tried by this period of pandemic.”

After the introductory prayer by the Pope, the Rosary was led by families from Rome and the surrounding Lazio region, along with young representatives of various New Evangelization Movements.

Following the Rosary and the Litany of Loreto, Pope Francis prayed in a special way for all those affected by the pandemic, including those who have lost loved ones; doctors, nurses, and health care workers; those who assist the sick, including priests and pastoral workers; scientists and world leaders.

“Most loving Mother,” he prayed, “grant that the sense of belonging to one great family, in the awareness of the bond that unites us all, might grow in the world; so that, with a spirit of fraternity and solidarity, we might come to the aid of the many people who are poor and the many situations of misery. Encourage firmness in faith, perseverance in service, constancy in prayer.”

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the Holy Father blessed special Rosaries to be sent to the thirty-one Marian shrines taking part in the Marathon of Prayer.

Unceasing intercession

“Every Shrine around the world is invited to pray, in the language and manner used locally, asking for the resumption of social life, work, and the many human activities that were suspended during the pandemic,” says the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization. “This common appeal seeks to create an unceasing intercession, dispersed over the meridians of the world, which rises continuously from the entire Church to the Father through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.”

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