WASHINGTON D.C. — Today, at noon, Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington will lead up to 1,000 in-person faithful in a worldwide recitation of the rosary in response to Pope Francis’ call for a “marathon” of prayer in May “to ask for the end of the pandemic.”
Today’s rosary event will take place at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Great Upper Church which can accommodate 1,000 people socially distanced. Other safety protocols, such as masks, will also be in place.
“During our Marian, we also embrace a host of those whose lives have been restrained by this virus, and of course all those who continue to suffer from poverty, isolation, and fear,” Cardinal Gregory wrote in the Catholic Standard on May 10.
As part of the rosary marathon, every day through the end of May at noon the rosary is prayed from a different Marian shrine around the world. Pope Francis started the marathon on May 1 from St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican and will close the month by leading the prayer in the Vatican Gardens on May 31.
In the month of May we continue the prayer “marathon” through important Marian Shrines. Today I invite you to join spiritually in the supplication to #OurLadyoftheRosary to take place at midday today at the Shrine of Pompeii.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) May 8, 2021
“At the beginning of the month dedicated to Our Lady, we join in prayer with all the shrines around the world, the faithful, and all people of goodwill to entrust to our Holy Mother of all humanity so harshly tried by this Pandemic,” Pope Francis said while initiating the rosary marathon on May 1.
The Washington Basilica announced on May 7 that it was chosen by the Holy See to lead today’s rosary.
“It is an honor for us to participate in this important initiative of the Holy Father as he invites the world to offer this great Marian prayer,” said Msgr. Walter Rossi, Rector of the Basilica.
“It is my hope that, through this monthlong worldwide praying of the rosary, Our Blessed Mother will look favorably upon our pleas and present our great need before her Son, asking God, through her intercession, to bring an end to the pandemic and return our world to a form of normalcy.”
As first reported by Catholic News Service, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, said in a letter to Cardinal Gregory this month is “dedicated in a special way to prayer for an end to the coronavirus pandemic.”
Some of the other participating Marian shrines that have or will participate in the rosary marathon are located in England, Nigeria, Israel, South Korea, Turkey, Canada, Myanmar, Mexico, Germany, and Lebanon.
Each participant will pray the rosary for a specific prayer intention. Today’s is for “all world leaders and for all heads of international organizations.”
Yesterday’s, at St. Mary’s Cathedral Sydney, Australia, was for “all victims of violence and human trafficking.” And tomorrow’s, at Our Lady of Lourdes in France, is for “all doctors and nurses.”