Children in South Sudan, Burma, and Lebanon have joined a worldwide initiative to get one million kids to pray the rosary this year on Oct. 18.
“One million children praying the rosary” is a prayer campaign by the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) held annually on the feast of St. Luke.
This year, the organization has provided meditations on the mysteries of the rosary for children in 24 languages, along with printable coloring pages and a prayer to St. Joseph.
More than 100,000 children from 44 countries, including the United States, Spain, Kenya, India, Colombia, and the Philippines, have already registered to take part in the rosary campaign, according to an online map published by the pontifical charity.
null. Photo courtesy of Aid to the Church in Need
Among the participating dioceses is a Catholic community in Myanmar, also known as Burma. A Catholic leader from the southeast Asian country wrote a letter to ACN saying that the rosary has been a source of strength amid the difficult times the country is facing after experiencing a coup.
“The situation has been bad for months now. The pandemic is rather severe in our area. All the villages are in lockdown. Praying the Rosary daily is the only source of strength physically and psychologically in the villages,” said the Burmese cleric, who wished to remain anonymous for security reasons.
“Our diocese will join you and pray for you and for your intentions. I am ever grateful to you for all concerns, love, kindness and generous support,” he said.
Aid to the Church in Need is a pontifical foundation, established in 1947, dedicated to helping persecuted Christians around the world.
Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, the president of ACN, said that the 2021 rosary campaign seeks to encourage children to pray “hand in hand with Our Lady and under the protection of Saint Joseph.”
He said that St. Joseph is “a great example for us of how God can turn all things to good through our prayer, our fidelity and our obedience to His Word.”
The ACN rosary initiative originated in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, in 2005. According to the official website, children were praying the rosary at a wayside shrine when “several of the women in attendance strongly felt the presence of the Virgin Mary.”
“They immediately thought of St. Padre Pio’s promise: ‘When one million children pray the rosary, the world will change,’” the website said.
St. Padre Pio is known for his deep devotion to praying multiple rosaries daily. The Franciscan priest from Pietrelcina, Italy was often seen with a rosary wrapped around his hand and had other rosaries under his pillow and on his nightstand.
Two days before he died in 1968, Padre Pio encouraged his spiritual children to pray the rosary saying: “Love Our Lady and make her loved. Recite the Rosary and recite it always and as much as you can.”
Courtney Mares is a Rome Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, she has reported from news bureaus on three continents and was awarded the Gardner Fellowship for her work with North Korean refugees.
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