Padre Pio must have been pleased.
More to the point, the Blessed Mother had to have been smiling on October 18, as more than a million children around the world took part in the praying of the Rosary.
The pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) continued its annual practice of inviting parishes, schools, and families to take part in the worldwide initiative “One Million Children Praying the Rosary.”
As of Thursday, the official count of children registering and committing to pray was 1,009,910.
St. Pio of Pietrelcina once said, “When one million children pray the Rosary, the world will change.”
Focus on the Holy Land
The purpose of the campaign, which takes place each October, the month of the Rosary, is to pray worldwide for unity and peace. In light of recent events, the focus of this year’s edition was on peace in the Holy Land.
More than 90,000 children joined in from the Philippines, 86,000 from Slovakia, 46,000 from the United Kingdom, 14,000 from India, 12,000 from Australia, 8,000 from Argentina, 3,400 from Canada, and 2,000 from Sierra Leone.
In Portugal, children prayed at the Chapel of the Apparitions in Fatima. In Poland, where around 70,000 children were planning to participate, more than 270 schools and kindergartens took part. Many children gathered for a communal prayer at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Zakopane.
In Brazil, a live television broadcast of children praying the Rosary was shown on two channels, and about 1,000 children gathered to pray at the Cathedral of Maringá, in the south of the country. Four days prior, more than 50 residents of a children’s home that has received support from ACN formed a “human rosary” around the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro.
In Germany, Radio Horeb broadcast an international Rosary. The hour of prayer featured children’s groups from Kibeho, Rwanda; São Paulo, Brazil; Beit-Habbak, Lebanon; Fatima, and Munich.
Even in countries where Christians face challenges, such as Nicaragua, Nigeria, Qatar, Iran, Pakistan and Vietnam, children declared their intention to take part in the Rosary campaign by signing up on the website.
Angels are at the center of this year’s campaign, which is why the children learned about the passage from the Bible in which an angel appears to St. Joseph in a dream and warns him to flee to Egypt with Mary and Jesus.
The children’s rosary campaign was initiated in 2005 in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas. While a number of children were praying, several of the people present recalled the words that Padre Pio once said about the power of children praying the Rosary. Since then, the campaign has spread to all continents of the world, and the number of participants has increased every year. Pope Francis has repeatedly expressed his approval of the “One Million Children Praying the Rosary” initiative and encourages children to take part.
Aid to the Church in Need has prepared a free prayer leaflet for parishes, children’s groups and families, which contains instructions on how to pray the Rosary, child-friendly meditations on the Mysteries, and a Prayer of Consecration to Mary for children. There are also posters for the prayer campaign. The materials are available in 18 languages.
Our slideshow depicts children’s participation in the event from recent years: