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A man prayed the Rosary at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington May 17. The Rosary, led by Washington Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory, was part of a worldwide effort called by Pope Francis to pray for an end to the coronavirus pandemic.
A man prayed the Rosary at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington May 17. The Rosary, led by Washington Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory, was part of a worldwide effort called by Pope Francis to pray for an end to the coronavirus pandemic.
Photo Credit: Andrew Biraj | Catholic Standard

Cdl. Gregory leads worldwide Rosary for end to COVID-19 pandemic

Rosary May 17 was part of a worldwide marathon of Rosaries requested by Pope Francis

WASHINGTON — Washington Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory led a recitation of the Rosary May 17, imploring Mary to “entrust to her Son” all those affected by the pandemic.

The Rosary took place at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington as part of a worldwide prayer effort to end the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In communion with the Holy Father following the example of the first Christian communities in this time of great trial, we lift up to the Lord through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, unceasing supplications for the end of the pandemic,” Cardinal Gregory prayed at the start of the Rosary.

Recitation of the Rosary at the national shrine was part of a worldwide marathon of Rosaries for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic that was requested by Pope Francis. Each day during May at 11 a.m. Central time (6 p.m. at the Vatican) the Rosary is prayed from a different Marian shrine around the world.

Pope Francis began the Rosary marathon May 1 at the Vatican, and will conclude it there May 31.

The recitation of the Rosary was livestreamed from the national shrine on various Vatican social media platforms. In addition, EWTN and other Catholic media outlets broadcast the prayer service.

Several hundred people — wearing face masks and spaced at social distances throughout the shrine’s Great Upper Church — attended the event in person. More than 3,000 others from around the world followed via various internet platforms.

Other Marian shrines that have participated or will participate in the monthlong global Rosary are those located in Ireland, Belgium, Algeria, Portugal, India, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Australia, France, Turkey, Cuba, Japan, Canada, Malta, Mexico, Ukraine, Germany, Lebanon and Italy.

The overall theme for the worldwide event is “From the entire Church an unceasing prayer rises to God,” and comes from the Acts of the Apostles (12:1-12) account of how all members of the Church prayed for St. Peter’s miraculous escape from prison.

Each of the participating Marian shrines around the world prays the Rosary for a specific prayer intention. The Rosary at the National Shrine was offered for “all world leaders and for all heads of international organizations.”

“We entrust into the hands of the Blessed Virgin Mary the people touched by the pandemic and in particular for all world leaders and for the heads of international organizations, that she may entrust them to her Son,” Cardinal Gregory prayed. “May He hear and grant our petitions.”

Other intentions during the month include for an end to the pandemic, for all of humanity, for all who have died, for the sick, for pharmacists and other health care workers, for nurses and doctors and for essential workers.

Prior to departing the national shrine, Cardinal Gregory prayed the Memorare, a prayer seeking the intercession of Mary, asking her to “despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.”

As of May 17, Johns Hopkins University reported that worldwide more than 163.1 million people have contracted the coronavirus, resulting in nearly 3.4 million deaths. In the United States, about 33 million people have contracted COVID-19, and nearly 600,000 have died from it.

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