Pope Francis – Photo © Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk
May Devoted To Prayer To End Pandemic

Pope Francis has invited Catholics and 30 Marian shrines around the world, including the shrine at Walsingham, to dedicate this month to a marathon of prayer for an end to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The month of May will be dedicated to a “marathon” of prayer, to ask for the end of the pandemic, which has afflicted the world for more than a year now, and to ask for the resumption of social and work activities.

Pope Francis wishes to involve all the shrines around the world in this initiative, so they may become vehicles of the prayer of the entire Church.

The initiative is being conducted in the light of the biblical expression: “Prayer by the Church was fervently being made to God” (Acts 12:5).

The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation has extended this invitation to all shrines around the world in order to reach priests, families, and all the faithful, inviting them to join in this prayer of intercession and hope to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Together with the prayer of the Holy Rosary, each day of the month is characterised by a prayer intention for the various categories of people most affected by the plight of the pandemic.

This includes those who have not been able to say goodbye to their loved ones, health care personnel, the poor, the homeless and those in economic difficulty and for all the deceased.

This common appeal seeks to create an unceasing prayer from the entire Church throughout the world to the Father, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

On May 1, Pope Francis prayed at Our Lady of Succour (or Our Lady of Help), an icon venerated as early as the seventh century. In 2013 the icon was restored. As it was the first restoration carried out in the pontificate of Pope Francis, the words SVCCVRRE NOS and FRANCISCVS PP A I, were engraved below the icon, thus entrusting the Pope to Our Lady of Succour.

The Holy Father blessed special Rosaries to be sent to the 30 shrines directly involved. On May 31, he will conclude this prayer marathon from a significant place in the Vatican Gardens.

The official channels of the Holy See will broadcast the prayer said each day in each of these 30 shrines at 6pm, according to time scheduled in Rome.

The short liturgical guide below has been prepared to provide some useful suggestions for sharing this moment in our own communities.


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