The Global Rosary Relay aims to have 1 billion Hail Marys said for the sanctification of priests June 28, the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
“This is the world family all joining together as one on Friday and praying for the sanctification of our priests,” Global Rosary Relay founder and organizer Marion Mulhall told CNA June 27.
With prayer locations in more than 70 countries this year, the relay is carefully timed with the recitation of the rosary every half hour.
The relay begins with the joyful mysteries in South Korea and then is passed off to Russia for the luminous mysteries, followed by the sorrowful mysteries in China before continuing on to India, Vietnam, the United Arab Emirates, Uganda, Israel, and many other countries across Europe and the Americas.
"Ten years ago when we began the global rosary relay, we had 24 single locations in 24 countries for the 24 hour clock. This year we have 255 single prayer locations in every single corner of the planet,” Mulhall said. "The whole world is in prayer the whole day."
“Anybody who prays the rosary on Friday -- it doesn't matter what time it is or where they are -- can be pretty much guaranteed that they are joining, even if they may not realize it, with a participating prayer location around the world,” she said.
Mulhall explained that she felt personally called 25 years ago to “promote the priesthood at any price,” and this led to the creation of the World Priest Apostolate which organized campaigns to pray for priests for many years before starting the Global Rosary Relay ten years ago.
Saint Pope John Paul II declared the Feast of the Sacred Heart to be the World Day of Prayer for Priests in 2002. In 2016, the final rosary of the relay was led by the president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization.
This year, a rosary will be said in Rome at 6pm local time for Pope Francis and his intentions.
Mulhall said that social media live streams and television broadcasts of the rosary on EWTN and other Catholic channels have led to tremendous growth of the rosary relay in recent years.
“Last year, 700 million Hail Marys were prayed and 12-14 million people joined in prayer, so to go for 1 billion Hail Marys is actually not that hard with the help of global TV broadcasts,” she said.
“She [Our Lady] is watching out for her priestly sons all the time and she is always asking us to pray for her most beloved sons,” she said.