By Carol Glatz
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis has called for a global prayer marathon for the entire month of May, praying for the end to the pandemic.
“The initiative will involve in a special way all shrines in the world” in promoting the initiative so that individuals, families and communities all take part in reciting the rosary, “to pray for the end of the pandemic,” said the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization in a press release April 21.
“It is the heartfelt desire of the Holy Father that the month of May be dedicated to a prayer marathon dedicated to the theme, ‘from the entire church an unceasing prayer rises to God,’” it said.
The theme refers to the miraculous event recounted in the Acts of the Apostles (12:1-12) when all the church prayed for Peter, who was imprisoned until God sent an angel to free him, illustrating how the Christian community comes together to pray in the face of danger and how the Lord listens and performs an unexpected miracle.
Each day in May, there will be a livestream from one of 30 chosen Marian shrines or sanctuaries to guide the prayer at 6 p.m. Rome time (noon EDT) on all Vatican media platforms.
The pope will open the monthlong prayer May 1 and conclude it May 31, the council said.
Each day of the month has a different prayer intention related to the pandemic. For instance, the May 17 intention is “for all world leaders and for all heads of international organizations.” That prayer will be celebrated at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.
The following day, at the Basilica of Our Lady of Lourdes in France, prayers will be for all doctors and nurses. The May 23 prayer intention at the Quebec shrine, Notre Dame du Cap, is for law enforcement, military personnel and firefighters.