THE MONTH OF MAY, A PANDEMIC AND A PRAYER MARATHON
You may recall that on April 22 the Vatican announced that Pope Francis has designated the month of May, traditionally dedicated to Mary and praying the rosary, as a month that will be entirely dedicated to prayer for an end to the current pandemic – a veritable marathon of prayer.
The initiative will involved shrines throughout the word, 30 of which will participate in televised broadcasts of the nightly rosary that will be featured at 6 pm Rome time on News from the Vatican – News about the Church – Vatican News and other media. Each day of May will feature a special shrine from around the world (30 countries, 30 shrines), during which faithful will gather to pray the rosary. Each shrine will be offering the rosary for a specific intention.
Pope Francis will both open and close this prayer marathon. The opening event will be in the St. Gregory Chapel of St. Peter’s Basilica and the closing one will take place in the Vatican gardens.
Faithful can visit a local shrine during May as well as tuning in daily to the Vatican live-streamed event. The theme for the entire month is the theme, “The whole Church was fervently praying to God.”
Tomorrow and Friday I will be providing a list of all the shrines that will be featured each evening, some background material on this initiative and the small, online prayer book as a guide to the celebrations. The booklet also includes the list of shrines.
The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization has put together this prayer initiative.
MEDITATION AND RECOLLECTION NEEDED AMID “BUSYNESS OF LIFE”
Pope Francis held the general audience in the papal study in the Apostolic Palace and it was, as usual, live-streamed. He began his weekly talk by stating, “in our continuing catechesis on Christian prayer, we now consider the importance of meditative prayer. Everyone needs moments of recollection amid the busyness of our daily lives.”
“We all need to meditate, to reflect, to find ourselves,” said Francis. “Especially in the voracious Western world, people seek meditation because it represents a high barrier against the daily stress and emptiness that is everywhere. … It is a phenomenon to be welcomed, because we possess an interior life that cannot always be neglected.” (vaticannews photo)
The Pope explained that, “for Christians, meditation is not simply a matter of introspection but a method of prayer, a means of encountering Christ, above all in the mysteries of his earthly life. While there are many methods of meditation in the Church’s rich spiritual tradition, all have a single aim: to enable us to grow in our relationship with Jesus our Savior.”
He noted that, “by the grace of the Holy Spirit, our union with Christ in faith is nurtured through the use of our intellect, imagination, emotions and desires. The Catechism teaches that meditation on the mysteries of Christ deepens our faith, prompts the conversion of our hearts, and strengthens our will to follow in his footsteps (cf. No. 2708).”
In concluding remarks, Pope Francis said, “Our Lord’s every word and action can thus touch us and become a part of our own lives. On every page of the Gospel we are invited to encounter Christ and to discover in him the source of our salvation and our true happiness.