Our Lady and Saint Joseph are invoked together in this year’s prayer campaign organized by Aid to the Church in Need International.
On October 18 of this year, the International Catholic Charitable Pastoral and Pontifical Foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN International) again invites parishes, kindergartens, schools and families to join the annual prayer initiative “A million children praying the Rosary.” It is a prayer campaign for peace and unity around the world, which at the same time encourages children and young people to seek God’s help and support in difficult times, such as explains the international president of ACN, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza.
This year, the initiative is centered on the person of Saint Joseph, with quotations from the Apostolic Letter Patris Corde – (“With a father’s heart”) written by Pope Francis to mark the Year of Saint Joseph on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of his proclamation as Patron of the universal Church, a jubilee year which will end on December 8 of this year. This year’s campaign will encourage children to pray “hand in hand with Our Lady and under the protection of Saint Joseph”. Cardinal Piacenza recalls that Saint Joseph, as patron of the universal Church, “is for us a great example of how God can transform everything into good through our prayer, our fidelity and our obedience to his Word”.
Although it was hoped that 2021 would see the end of coronavirus restrictions, the consequences of the disease are still very serious in many places. Moreover, this crisis is not the only threat hanging over the world. “Hunger, poverty, corruption, terrorism, the desecration of human life and the destruction of creation affect millions of people,” explains Cardinal Piacenza. In response, he stresses the importance of prayer, and in particular the prayer of children, in intercession for “the salvation of God for the world”.
Last year, the “One Million Children Praying the Rosary” campaign broke all records, bringing together children from 136 different countries, including Syria, Iraq, Mexico, Armenia, Papua New -Guinea, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example. Over 509,000 kids have signed up on ACN’s webpage alone.
The ACN web page offers free materials for those who pray in parishes, schools, children’s groups and families. As every year, the free information pack contains instructions on how to pray the Rosary, short meditations for children on the Mysteries of the Rosary and an Act of Consecration to Our Lady for children.
This year, the posters include Saint Joseph alongside Our Lady and an additional printed prayer to Saint Joseph, whom Pope Francis prays to every day. Downloadable online information packs are available, along with coloring pictures, in 26 different languages. You can find them at: https://acninternational.org/millionchildrenpraying/material
The origins of the One Million Children Praying the Rosary prayer initiative date back to the year 2005, when a group of children were seen praying the Rosary at a local shrine in the Venezuelan capital Caracas. , and some of the adults who witnessed the scene remembered the words of Padre Pio, who once said: “When a million children pray the Rosary, the world will change.” Since then, the campaign has spread rapidly and become a global phenomenon.
Watch this slideshow of last year’s Rosary for Children initiative:
This article was first published by Aid to the Church in Need and is republished here with kind permission. To learn more about ACN’s mission to help the suffering Church, visit www.churchinneed.org(from the United States) and www.acninternational.org (outside the United States).