Diocesan News

Prayer Coins from B’klyn Travel Around the World

 by Antonina Zielinska


RIO DE JANEIRO – All through the week of World Youth Day, pilgrims from Brooklyn and Queens had Pray for the Pope coins at the ready.

They gave them away as gifts and exchanged them for souvenirs.

“The coins for me are all about seeing people’s excited faces when we explain them,” said pilgrim Daniel Estrada, 24, from Our Lady of the Sorrows, Corona. “It’s so cool how we will be able to track them.”

The Coin Project, in part sponsored by the DeSales Media Group, the parent company of The Tablet, gave each youngster 75 metal coins with Pope Francis’ likeness, a code and a website address. Each person is asked to enter their code on prayforthepope.org, sign up for a prayer time for the pope’s intentions and give the coin to someone else to continue the cycle.

Msgr. Kieran Harrington, diocesan vicar for communications, said the virtual globe on prayforthepope.org, that tracks where people are registering their coins, exploded. The coins found their way around the world.

“Everybody wants a coin,” said pilgrim Diana Arrega, 19, from St. Joseph Co-Cathedral, Prospect Heights.

She said the pilgrims at times had to get creative in how to distribute them. While waiting for the pope to arrive, pilgrims from the other side of the barricade were bartering for coins. The diocesan pilgrims recruited the help of the official World Youth Day volunteers to bring the coins to the other side.

Throughout the trip, pilgrims exchanged the coins for flags, key chains, hats, rosary beads and even hugs.

Benedict Joson, 22, from St. Sebastian parish, Woodside, said explaining the coins to people was not always easy, especially to those who did not speak English. Therefore, he was grateful for the multi-lingual instructions that accompanied the coins.

“I think it’s going to be interesting to see where they go,” he said.

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