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A Rosary Around the World

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By Andy Leeco (Jun 11, 2013)
The National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass., was one of 60 shrines around the world that participated in the Fourth Annual Global Rosary Relay for Priests on Friday, June 7.

"Can you imagine what a world would be like without priests?" Lorraine Ward said after taking part in the Relay at the Shrine. "I pray for priests all the time, and surely the Lord will listen to His Mother's intercession."

The Relay was held on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, a day that Blessed John Paul II established as World Priest Day. Pope Benedict XVI initiated the first Rosary Relay in 2009.

The Rosary Relay calls for each of the participating shrines to pray "a particular mystery of the Rosary at a particular half hour on the day in thanksgiving to God for our priests and to implore the protection and loving care of Our Lady, Mother of all priests, for all her priestly sons," WorldPriest, the organizer of the event, explains on its website. "With the coming of midnight on the June 7, the entire world, by then, will have been encircled in prayer for our priests."

The Relay started at midnight at the Basilica of Our Lady of Victories in Melbourne, Australia, and continued throughout Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Mary Kay Volpone, an employee for the Marians and the local organizer, noted that the Relay included shrines in places like the Philippines, India, Rwanda, Poland, and Argentina.

"I found it interesting that it went to many locations where the Marian Fathers have a presence," she said.

She added that hosting the Relay was a "perfect fit for the Marians because their charisms include spreading devotion to Mary Immaculate and supporting parish priests."

This is the first time the Shrine has been asked to participate in this event, but Mary Kay said she hopes it becomes an annual event.

More than 50 pilgrims came to the Shrine and prayed the Sorrowful Mystery from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

This mystery has great meaning for Cathy Chichester, who came to the event with her husband and other family members.

"I truly believe the world is in a sorrowful state," said Cathy, who manages the Marians' Divine Mercy Intercessory Prayerline on Eden Hill. "I also believe that the Catholic Church is the last stand against the evils in this world. As such, priests are under tremendous attacks by Satan, and they need all our prayers to give them courage, strength, and perseverance."

Cathy said she also had another reason to attend the event.

"One of my sons, Zach, is pursuing a vocation to the priesthood," she said. "We are praying for all the priests tonight, and I would like to think that when, God willing, he becomes a priest, then the laity would be praying for him."

Brother John, MIC, said he knows the power of the Rosary and what a blessing it is that people pray for priests.

"When I was younger, I used to pray the Rosary with a dear friend," Br. John said. "And she always prayed the last decade with special intention for priests. She prayed it so intently, I figured she had a brother who was a priest. But then when I became a Marian, she told me that all her prayers were said for me. I know the Rosary is a very powerful prayer because it opened the door for me to become a Marian."

Brother John also said that's why he came to the Rosary Relay.

"What was done for me, I have to do for them," he said. "I pray for my fellow seminarians and priests. I pray for them to persevere through the struggles we all go through and be a little stronger for the next wave. I can only assume the millions of people across the world praying for priests will help them as the Rosary helped me."

The Catholic Church's Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy says the Rosary "is one of the most excellent prayers to the Mother of God" (234). Thus, "the Roman Pontiffs have repeatedly exhorted the faithful to the frequent recitation of this biblically inspired prayer which is centered on contemplation of the salvific events of Christ's life, and their close association with the his Virgin Mother. The value and efficacy of this prayer have often been attested by saintly Bishops and those advanced in holiness of life" (235).

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