‘One Million Children Praying the Rosary’ surpasses 1 million participants for first time — By: Catholic News Agency

Children participate in the “One Million Children Praying the Rosary” campaign in the Archdiocese of Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine, on Oct. 18, 2023. / Credit: ACN

ACI Prensa Staff, Nov 2, 2023 / 10:15 am (CNA).

For the first time since its inception, the “One Million Children Praying the Rosary” campaign this year surpassed the emblematic figure of 1 million children praying together for peace and unity in the world, according to the pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), which launched the initiative.

“One Million Children Praying the Rosary” began in Caracas, Venezuela, in 2005. The campaign is inspired by the saying of St. Pio of Pietrelcina: “If a million children prayed the rosary, the world would change.”

Last year, 871,523 children registered on the ACN website to participate in the initiative. In 2023, that number rose to 1,039,628 children, although the foundation estimates that the figure could be higher since “many children participated without having registered.”

ACN reported that this year the campaign gained popularity in Poland. The Eastern European country recorded the largest number of participants, with a total of 275,000 children.

“The communal praying of the rosary with kindergarten children took place there at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Fátima in Zakopane. Thanks to the online broadcasts, families, schools, and hospitalized children also participated,” ACN explained.

Among the nations that contributed the most participants were also Slovakia (approximately 156,000), the Philippines (approximately 136,000), the United Kingdom (approximately 77,000) and Brazil (approximately 47,000).

The pontifical foundation explained that it was able to verify that a greater number participated than had registered on the website thanks to the emails and photos they received from all over the world.

For example, in the Congo there were only 1,300 children registered, but on Oct. 18, the day of the campaign, “ACN received messages from more than 80 schools where the rosary was being prayed. In just three of those schools more than 5,000 children participated.”

In addition, ACN highlighted the participation of countries affected by the violence of war and the persecution of the Catholic Church, such as Nigeria, Nicaragua, and Ukraine. Even children from Israel and Palestine prayed to the Mother of God that day for peace in the world.

Cardinal Antonio Marto, bishop emeritus of Leiria-Fátima, Portugal, who led the recitation of the rosary that day at the shrine of Our Lady of Fátima, stated that the special intention of the campaign is to obtain the intercession of the Virgin to obtain “the gift of peace for this world that is at war.”

The cardinal concluded by noting that this year’s “One Million Children Praying the Rosary” initiative was held in a special way for “the land where Jesus and the Virgin walked,” for Ukraine and other places “where war has broken out.” 

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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