VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - Pope Francis is calling all Catholics to dedicate the month of May to praying the Rosary.
Noting that May is traditionally the month "when the people of God express with particular intensity their love and devotion for the Blessed Virgin Mary," Pope Francis is challenging the faithful to pray the Rosary faithfully, either individually or as a family.
Recognizing the shut-in orders that much of the world has been coping with owing to the Wuhan virus pandemic, Francis stressed the importance of family in times like these.
"The restrictions of the pandemic have made us come to appreciate all the more this 'family' aspect, also from a spiritual point of view," he said. "For this reason," he added, "I want to encourage everyone to rediscover the beauty of praying the Rosary at home in the month of May."
Echoing the late Ven. Fr. Patrick Peyton, "the Rosary priest" of the 20th century who once popularized the phrases "The family that prays together stays together" and "A world at prayer is a world at peace," Pope Francis acknowledged the importance of family prayer and the powerful effect it has on cohesiveness in the family and the world.
In countless apparitions of the 19th and 20th centuries, including those officially accepted by the Church, Mary is often holding a Rosary and is always imploring her spiritual children to pray — for repentance, reparation for sin and peace in our hearts.
In reiterating the role of Mary in the heart of the Church as mother and intercessor to her divine Son, the pope reminded Catholics that "contemplating the face of Christ with the heart of Mary our Mother will make us even more united as a spiritual family and will help us overcome this time of trial."
Francis wrote two additional prayers for Mary's intercession that he invites all the faithful to "recite at the end of the Rosary, and that I myself will pray in the month of May, in spiritual union with all of you."
The first one implores the blessed Mother of Christ to intercede on our behalf that we may “conform ourselves to the will of the Father," as her Son did in the garden of Gethsemane.
The second prayer asks for her protection from the virus and comfort to all those who are sick from it:
Mother of God and our Mother, pray for us to God, the Father of mercies, that this great suffering may end and that hope and peace may dawn anew. Plead with your divine Son, as you did at Cana, so that the families of the sick and the victims be comforted, and their hearts be opened to confidence and trust.
This letter from the Pope, titled "Letter of His Holiness Pope Francis to the Faithful For the Month of May 2020," was promulgated on April 25, the Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist. It comes at a time when bishops from over 20 nations have consecrated their countries to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and while the U.S. and Canada have announced their plans to do so on May 1.