Vatican City – Entrusting all humanity to the protection of the Virgin Mary, Pope Francis prays the Rosary with those who experienced the Covid-19 epidemic on their own skin. And so here in the square in front of the Grotto of Lourdes (recreated within the Leonine walls at the beginning of the 20th century), in the heart of the Vatican Gardens, they gather – keeping the safety distance and with the mask – doctors, nurses, volunteers of the Civil Protection but also priests, nuns and families.
Francis introduces the rite by reciting the prayer he himself composed precisely for this month of May 2020 (read here). Then the real Rosary. The dozens are recited by them, women and men representing various categories of people particularly affected by the health emergency.
Medical staff, therefore, but also a healed person and one who has lost a family member, for all those who have been personally touched by the coronavirus.
And again, a priest, hospital chaplain, and a nun nurse, for all the priests and consecrated persons close to those who are tried by the disease.
To pray to the Virgin Mary also a pharmacist and a journalist, for all the people who continued to perform their service even during the pandemic period in favor of others.
A Civil Protection volunteer, together with his family, could not be missing for those who worked to cope with this emergency and for the whole vast world of volunteering. Finally, a young family, to which a child was born just in this period.
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The whole world is represented in front of the icon of the Madonna, and it really is thanks to technological tools. The prayer, in fact, takes place in connection with the largest shrines on the planet.
For example from Europe, Lourdes, Fatima, San Giovanni Rotondo, Pompeii and Częstochowa (Poland); from the United States of America the Immaculate Conception Shrine (Washington D.C.); from Africa the Sanctuary of Elele (Nigeria) and Notre-Dame de la Paix (Ivory Coast); from Latin America the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexico), Chiquinquira (Colombia), Lujan and Milagro (Argentina).
On Mary’s feet, Francis places the many worries and pains of humanity, further burdened by the spread of Covid-19. The date chosen for this particular event is also significant, namely the end of the Marian month: a further sign of closeness and consolation for those who, in various ways, have been affected by the coronavirus, in the assurance that Heavenly Mother does not disregard requests for protection.
At the end of the recitation of the Holy Rosary, after the Apostolic Blessing, Pope Francis offers a brief greeting – and in Spanish – to the many Shrines of Latin America connected with the Grotto of Lourdes: “To all of you in the Shrines of Latin America – I see Guadalupe and many others -, that you are connected with us, united in prayer. In my mother tongue I greet you. Thanks for being close to all of us. May our Mother of Guadalupe accompany us! “.
(Il Faro online) – Photo © Vatican Media