Pope Francis will pray the rosary in the Vatican Gardens’ Lourdes grotto on Saturday, as Catholic shrines from around the world join via video streaming.
The intention of the worldwide rosary is for the Blessed Virgin Mary’s help and solace during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a letter sent to shrine rectors by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, the livestreamed prayer will take place at 5:30 p.m. Rome time on May 30.
Catholic shrines have been asked to participate by holding their own recitation of the rosary, in accordance with local health measures, at the same time as the Rome event and to promote the initiative.
They have also been asked, if possible, to provide satellite or streaming connections with the Vatican’s television center so that video footage of the rosary at the different shrines can be shared during Pope Francis’ livestream.
During the coronavirus emergency, many Catholic shrines have had to close to the public, including the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in France, which only partially reopened to pilgrims May 16.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal has also been closed and the May 13 anniversary of the 1917 Marian apparitions were celebrated without the presence of the public for the first time in its history due to the pandemic.
The rosary with Pope Francis is being organized by the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, which in its letter to rectors paraphrased the Acts of the Apostles 1:14: “All joined together constantly in prayer, along [with] Mary.”
“In light of the emergency situation caused by the Coronavirus pandemic that has caused the stoppage of the normal activity of all Shrines and the interruption of all pilgrimages, Pope Francis wishes to express a gesture of closeness to each of you with the recitation of the Holy Rosary,” Archbishop Fisichella wrote.
Shrines which will participate in the rosary May 30 include the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., and the shrines of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of the Rosary of Chiquinquira, Our Lady of Lujan, and the Virgin of Milagro.
From Europe, there will be the Shrines of Our Lady of Częstochowa, Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Lourdes, San Giovanni Rotondo, and Our Lady of Pompei.
The National Pilgrimage Centre of Elele in Nigeria and the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace in Ivory Coast will join from Africa.
The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization has been responsible for Catholic shrines since 2017.
Globally, there have been more than 5.4 million confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, with more than 340,000 recorded deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.