null / Good Shepherd Catholic School

Olympia, Wash., Oct 23, 2022 / 08:00 am (CNA).

More than 840,000 people from 140 countries joined in praying the rosary Oct. 18 to ask for peace and unity throughout the world.

The pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) organized the annual prayer initiative, which saw parishes, schools, and families from around the globe take part.

At his Angelus prayer last Sunday, Pope Francis lent his support to the effort and encouraged parents to join their children in praying for the people of Ukraine in particular.

“Let us join them and entrust to the intercession of Our Lady the martyred Ukrainian people and other peoples who suffer due to war and every form of violence and poverty,” the Holy Father said.

Children from around the world can be seen taking part in the prayer event in this video montage:

ACN released the numbers of registrants from the top 10 of the 140 countries that participated, noting that the numbers are probably higher as they only reflect those who officially registered. Poland topped the list with nearly a quarter million people praying, while tiny Slovakia came in second, with 191,011, representing 3% of the nation’s population. The number of registrants from the top 10 countries was as follows:

1. Poland 246,823

2. Slovakia 191,011

3. Philippines 41,752

4. Australia 40,005

5. India 36,584

6. Spain 29,845

7. Portugal 25,911

8. Italy 25,563

9. Brazil 23,858

10. United Kingdom 21,720

“We are very happy with the response. All over the world children came together to pray for peace, even in countries currently at war. The Greek Catholic Church of Ukraine, for example, informed ACN that the initiative was promoted in all its parishes and there were also pictures of children participating in Pemba, in Mozambique, which has been badly affected by terrorism over the past years,” Thomas Heine-Geldern, executive president at ACN International, said.

“Some of the numbers are amazing! Poland leading with almost a quarter of a million, followed by Slovakia with 190,000. In Australia and in India many children took part also,” Heine-Geldern said.

According to ACN, hundreds of schools around the world took part. Fifty schools officially joined the initiative in Kenya alone, and schools from Spain, Great Britain, South Korea, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and many other nations were among those who prayed together.

At the Shrine of Fátima in Portugal, children from different countries gathered at the Chapel of the Apparitions to lead the daily 6:30 p.m. livestreamed recitation of the rosary.

The prayer initiative, called “A million children praying the rosary” had its inspiration in 2005 when a group of children was seen praying the rosary at a local shrine in the Venezuelan capital Caracas. Some of the adults who witnessed the scene were reminded of the words of Padre Pio, who once said, “When a million children pray the rosary, the world will change.” 

Since then, the campaign, promoted by ACN, has spread across the world.

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