On May 1st, Pope Francis began his Marian month of prayer to end the pandemic with a specially livestreamed Rosary. Each day this month, a different Marian shrine has been offering a livestreamed Rosary as well.

Next Monday on May 17th, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. will host their recitation of the Rosary for the month, led by Washington Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory.

The basilica’s rector, Father Walter Rossi, said:

“It is an honor for us to participate in this important initiative of the Holy Father as he invites the world to offer this great Marian prayer asking God, through the intercession of Our Lady, to bring an end to the pandemic. Dating back to the Middle Ages, the month of May has been dedicated to Our Lady. In each of her apparitions, Our Lady called for the rosary to be prayed for conversation of hearts and as an instrument for world peace. Now we offer this prayer in hope that with vaccines being administered, our world will return to a form of normalcy. With the world living for more than a year in pandemic mode, I trust that everyone would agree that we need some ‘rearranging’. And so, my hope is that through this monthlong worldwide praying of the rosary, Our Lady will look favorably upon our pleas and present our great need before her Son.”

Each Marian shrine around the world participating prays the rosary with a specific prayer intention. The May 17 rosary at the basilica will be prayed for “all world leaders and for all heads of international organizations.”

Other intentions so far have included the “end to the pandemic, for all of humanity, for all who have died, for the sick, for expectant mothers, for pharmacists and other health care workers, for peace, for nurses and doctors and for essential workers.”

The initiative, organized by the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, has the overall theme of “the whole Church was fervently praying to God,” referencing the Book of Acts (12:5).

“The initiative will involve all the Shrines of the world in a special way, so that they might encourage the faithful, families, and communities to recite the Rosary to pray for an end to the pandemic.”

The recitation of the rosary on May 17th will be livestreamed from the basilica’s website here. The recitation is also open to the public.

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  1. Regular recitation of the Rosary is healing and empowering. Gratefully I acknowledge the important legacy left behind by our parents and elders of good faith.


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