In a time of increasing war, prayer too has increased, and some of the most powerful people engaged in prayer are the children of the world.
This year, for the first time since the Catholic organization Aid to the Church in Need began an annual children’s Rosary campaign, more than 1 million children committed to offer the Marian prayer in October.
The final tally of children and others who registered online in ACN’s One Million Children Praying the Rosary Campaign was 1,039,628 – significantly higher than last year’s 871,523. The idea was for young people to be praying simultaneously on October 18.
“For us the most touching part was to see people in the Middle East praying, especially the children praying together,” said Ed Clancy, Director of Evangelization and Outreach at Aid to the Church in Need USA. “That was really wonderful. It’s always great to see children with a sense of hope in their voices, united together in prayer, wearing their Sunday best.”
Numbers up in the US
Clancy said there were strong numbers in countries “with a long Rosary tradition”: for example, 275,000 in Poland and approximately 136,000 in the Philippines.
He said that in the US, the numbers were up over 50% from last year.
It’s a long way from 2005, the year ACN began the campaign. Over the years, it’s been an effort to reach 1 million, but some years were more difficult than others.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we tried to reconnect with people, trying to get people who were shut in to focus on prayer for unity and peace with their families,” Clancy said. “And then we had a major spam attack. They really went after us and shut down our central server. So it was a challenge. They overwhelmed the system,” so many people couldn’t register.
This year, the numbers might have actually been higher than 1.04 million, as many people who did not register sent ACN emails and photos of themselves praying. In the Democratic Republic of Congo there were only 1,300 children registered, but on the day of the campaign “ACN received messages from more than 80 schools where the Rosary was being prayed.”
In just three of those schools more than 5,000 children participated, ACN reported.
The foundation says the campaign is inspired by St. Pio of Pietrelcina, who said, “If a million children prayed the Rosary, the world would change.”
Many are praying that that will be the case.