Pilgrims pray before the Fatima Shrine in Fatima, Portugal. The World Rosary Campaign is collecting prayers for world peace to promote the Fatima message on a global scale. Photo by Gerardo Vecchiato

Rosary campaign offers hope for troubled times

By  Angelica Vecchiato, Youth Speak News
  • September 16, 2020

More than a century since the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children in Portugal in 1917, the message and secrets of the Fatima apparitions have spread throughout the globe conveying a need for devotion to God and to pray the rosary.

The World Rosary 2020 Campaign has uniquely heeded the Fatima plea.

Launched Feb. 26 by the Children of the Eucharist and the World Apostolate of Fatima, this initiative collects prayers for world peace — particularly to end the COVID-19 pandemic — and promote the message of Our Lady of Fatima on a global scale.

On Oct. 13, the eight-month effort will climax with a spiritual bouquet of five million rosaries from around the world to be offered to Mother Mary in the Chapel of Apparitions at Fatima.

“We have learned the importance of unity and connectedness during the pandemic,” said Bernice Santos, a 19-year-old participant from Mississauga, Ont. “The World Rosary Campaign is important because it will allow us to refocus our attention and come together worldwide as a collaborative community to reaffirm our faith, which is especially important in these times. We need to go back to the number one source, which is God and prayer.”

Angie Carboni, the founder of the Bernadette Family Resource Centre in Toronto and representative of Children of the Eucharist Canada, says the world is starting to connect with Fatima on a more personal level.

“During the time of Fatima, there was starvation, war and suffering,” said Carboni. “The world is becoming increasingly unstable in our current times, just like Fatima’s times: we have a pandemic, there is violence and mass confusion. However, the three little shepherd children of Fatima changed the world with their heartfelt prayer and sacrifice. What could we do if we collected five million rosaries worldwide for Our Lady?

“The little saints of Fatima, Jacinta and Francisco, died of a pandemic — they died of the Spanish flu. The Fatima message is now more significant than ever as we have our own pandemic in our midst. We have formulated prayers and devotions to these little saints to let people know they are not alone in their suffering.”

Benedict Claridad, a 14-year-old Toronto youth, programmed the software for worldrosary2020.org to collect the rosary and prayer pledges. The rosaries are tracked and counted through the site. He says the Rosary Campaign offers the promise of hope in dire times.

“This campaign is important. During the pandemic, many people have lost their jobs and loved ones, and they may have lost their hope and faith as a repercussion,” said Claridad. “The Rosary Campaign is an opportunity to show that there is still hope. By praying and having faith, you could be saved.”

One million rosaries, divine chaplets and special prayers were already presented May 13 at Fatima’s Shrine. Due to the campaign’s success, the deadline and the number of rosaries was expanded. Carboni said more rosaries collected and prayed, especially by youth, can have a positive effect on the world’s future.

“When one child prays, it is worth the equivalent of 1,000 prayers; this is why Mother Mary appeared to the three small shepherd children,” she said. “The youth need to get involved because their prayers have a greater effect. They need to fight for their future — the world’s future.”

Santos realizes the popularization of the campaign is essential to fulfilling its end goal.

“The deadline is fast approaching, and the world needs to know about the campaign so we can collect more rosaries. We are trying to amass one million promotional video selfies and post them everywhere on social media, including our website, to get the word out,” said Santos.

(Vecchiato, 16, is a Grade 11 student at Loretto Abbey Catholic Secondary School in Toronto.)

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