Hundreds of groups of Catholics gathered across the island of Ireland on Sunday to pray the Rosary for the preservation of the Catholic faith and for the defense of life against the threat of abortion.
“Firstly, we thank Christ our King, and the Most Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of Ireland for all the graces and blessings,” Rosary on the Coast for Life and Faith organizers said on the group’s Facebook page Nov. 27. “From the bottom of our hearts we humbly thank everyone who organized one of the 300 plus locations around the coastlines of our beautiful country.”
“We are incredibly grateful to each and every one of you, that braved the elements to pray for the protection of life, from conception to natural death, and for the preservation and increase in faith in Ireland,” they said.
The events took place both in Northern Ireland, which is legally part of the United Kingdom, and in the Republic of Ireland at 2:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon, the feast of Christ the King.
Secular tendencies have increased in Ireland, especially in the Republic.
The Republic of Ireland’s national constitution recognizes the right to life of the unborn child under the Eighth Amendment, approved in a 1983 referendum by 67 percent of voters. However, the amendment has been targeted for repeal by pro-abortion rights advocates, and public opinion appears to have shifted against it.
Unlike other parts of the U.K., Northern Ireland’s laws only permit abortion in cases where a woman’s life is at risk, or where there is a permanent or serious risk to her mental or physical health. Pro-abortion activists are working to make these laws more permissive.
One organizer of the all-Ireland rosary, Kathy Sinnott, co-hosts EWTN’s Celtic Connections radio show. She spoke with the National Catholic Register ahead of the event.
“Whatever happens in one half is going to affect the whole,” she said. “In terms of the threat to life, we’re one island.”
She also reflected on the prayer intention for the preservation of faith.
“If our faith is strong, we wouldn’t be even looking at abortion,” she said, adding that organizers want “the blossoming of the faith, once again, in the hearts, in the souls, in the minds and in the lives of the Irish.”
Organizers cited various motives for the event, including the 100th anniversary year of the Our Lady of Fatima apparitions; a 33-day personal consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary that is currently ongoing; and the Polish and Italian versions of the Rosary on the Borders.