Sr. Jecinter Antoinette Okoth, FSSA
The Holy Father has called for a month-long prayer marathon asking Catholics across the globe to dedicate the month of May’s Marian prayers for an end to Coronavirus pandemic.
The initiative was announced by Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization on Wednesday, April 21, saying, “Pope Francis is requesting that during this month of May the entire Church invoke the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the end of the pandemic and, in a special way, he is inviting all of us to pray fervently for those most closely affected by the pandemic.”
The prayer marathon will involve 30 Marian shrines from various parts of the world, with the Shrines taking turns in “leading this prayer throughout the Church and offering the faithful a series of prayer moments for them to participate throughout the entire day.”
In their statement, members of Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization noted that, “During each day of May, guided by a calendar with specific intentions, all the shrines around the world, united in a communion of supplication, will lift up their prayers, which, like the fragrance of incense, will rise up to heaven.”
According to tradition of the Catholic Church, the month of May is normally dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Pope Francis will officially open the month of prayer on Saturday May 1, asking for Mary’s intercession by leading a Rosary live from the Gregorian Chapel of St. Peter’s Basilica and he will again close the month by leading the prayer in Vatican Gardens on Monday, May 31, the feast of the visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Council reminds Christians that in addition to the recitation of the Holy Rosary, shrines are invited to promote other moments of prayer during the day and “Each shrine should arrange for the participation of the faithful in the various celebrations proposed, following the health regulations in force, exhorting them also to pray in their own homes and families where attendance is impossible.”