Pope Francis, a great defender of vaccination to curb the coronavirus pandemic, on Saturday launched a more spiritual initiative, a “marathon of prayers” which will be relayed by thirty shrines around the world.
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Each day of May, believers are called to pray the Rosary assiduously to invoke the end of the pandemic and a resumption of work and social activities.
At 6:00 p.m. Rome time on Saturday, in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis opened the marathon with a “prayer for wounded humanity” in the presence of some 150 believers.
Referring to “a current dramatic situation, fraught with suffering and anguish”, he asked for protection for those who mourn their dead “sometimes buried in a way that hurts the soul” and he praised “the heroic fatigue” of life-threatening doctors, nurses, health workers and volunteers.
The Pope also asked the Virgin Mary that she “enlighten the minds of men and women of science so that they find the right solutions to overcome this virus” or that she “touch the conscience so that the enormous sums used to develop and improve armaments are on the contrary intended to promote studies to prevent such catastrophes in the future ”.
Thirty shrines dedicated to the Virgin Mary will take turns each day with a prayer theme dedicated to different categories of people, from Poland to Brazil, including South Korea and Nigeria.
On Saturday the English shrine of Our Lady of Waslingham launched “a prayer for the dead”. Other sanctuaries will evoke young people, prisoners, doctors, firefighters, the unemployed, doctors, or even scientists and medical research institutes.
The Sovereign Pontiff will close the initiative on May 31 from the Vatican Gardens.