In his newest prayer video Pope Francis focuses his monthly intention on families in difficulty, praying that they receive the help they need and that children can grow up in a healthy environment.
“The family is one of the most precious assets of humanity. But is it not perhaps one of the most vulnerable?” the Pope said in his newest video of prayer intentions, published March 10.
When families are exposed to economic, health, or other difficulties, the children grow up “in an environment of sadness,” he said, and shared his universal prayer intention for the month of March: that families in need “may receive the necessary support, and that children can grow up healthy and in peaceful environments.”
Pope Francis’ prayer video was the latest in a new series of short clips dedicated to his monthly prayer intentions, called “The Pope Video.”
An initiative of the Jesuit-run global prayer network Apostleship of Prayer, the videos are filmed in collaboration with the Vatican Television Center and mark the first time the Pope’s monthly prayer intentions have been featured on video.
March’s prayer video was released less than a week after an app called “Click to pray” was launched, which allows users to pray daily for Pope Francis and his monthly intentions through a mobile network.
Launched at the Vatican March 4, the app “invites men and women around the world to accompany Pope Francis in a new digital way,” Fr. Federic Fornos SJ has said.
Fr. Fornos, the International Director the Apostleship of Prayer, expressed his hope that the app will unite all continents in prayer “for the great challenges of the world and the mission of the Church as expressed in the Pope’s intentions.”
The app offers different prayers daily, and is available for both Android and iOS formats. It sends users prayer notifications three times a day — morning, afternoon and evening — as well as on the World Day of Prayer, celebrated on the first Friday of each month.
The Apostleship of Prayer, which produces the monthly videos on the Pope’s intentions, was founded by Jesuit seminarians in France in 1884 to encourage Christians to serve God and others through prayer, particularly for the needs of the Church.
Since the late 1800s the organization has also received a monthly, “universal” intention from the Pope. In 1929 an additional missionary intention was added by the Holy Father, aimed at the faithful in particular.
While there are two intentions, the prayer videos are centered on the first, universal intention.
Though Pope Francis’ universal March intention is dedicated to families in difficulty, his more missionary, evangelistic intention is persecuted Christians.
He prays that “those Christians who, on account of their faith, are discriminated against or are being persecuted, may remain strong and faithful to the Gospel, thanks to the incessant prayer of the Church.”
Released on social media sites such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, the videos show Pope Francis speaking in his native Spanish, with subtitles available in 10 different languages.
Papal prayer intentions for the rest of the year are listed on the organization’s website and display themes close to Francis’ heart, such as prayers for small farmers, indigenous peoples, countries receiving refugees, solidarity, respect for women, and an end to child-soldiers.