Pope Francis prays the rosary at the Shrine of Our Lady of Divine Love in Rome in this May 1, 2018, file photo. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)
By Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis asked Catholics to make a special effort in May to pray the rosary, knowing that by doing so they will be united with believers around the world asking for Mary’s intercession in stopping the coronavirus pandemic.
“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,” the pope said in a letter addressed to all Catholics and released by the Vatican April 25.
The month of May is traditionally devoted to Mary and many Catholics already are in the habit of praying the rosary at home during the month, he noted. “The restrictions of the pandemic have made us come to appreciate all the more this ‘family’ aspect, also from a spiritual point of view.”
“You can decide according to your own situations” whether to pray individually or in groups, he said, noting that “it is easy also on the internet to find good models of prayers to follow.”
Pope Francis wrote two prayers to Mary that can be recited at the end of the rosary, prayers he said he would be reciting “in spiritual union with all of you.”
Both prayers acknowledge Mary’s closeness to her son’s followers and ask for her protection and for her intercession just as she interceded with Jesus on behalf of the newlyweds at Cana who had run out of wine for their wedding feast.
“We know that you will provide, so that, as at Cana in Galilee, joy and celebration may return after this time of trial,” one of the prayers read.
Pope Francis’ prayers also include specific intentions for those who are sick, for those who care for them, for those who have died and those who mourn for them, for scientists seeking cures and vaccines and for government leaders who must find a way to protect their people.
“Mary Most Holy, stir our consciences, so that the enormous funds invested in developing and stockpiling arms will instead be spent on promoting effective research on how to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future,” one of the prayers said.
“Beloved Mother, help us realize that we are all members of one great family and to recognize the bond that unites us, so that, in a spirit of fraternity and solidarity, we can help to alleviate countless situations of poverty and need,” it continued. “Make us strong in faith, persevering in service, constant in prayer.”
You shine continuously on our journey
as a sign of salvation and hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,
who, at the foot of the cross,
were united with Jesus’ suffering,
and persevered in your faith.
“Protectress of the Roman people”,
you know our needs,
and we know that you will provide,
so that, as at Cana in Galilee,
joy and celebration may return
after this time of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform ourselves to the will of the Father
and to do what Jesus tells us.
For he took upon himself our suffering,
and burdened himself with our sorrows
to bring us, through the cross,
to the joy of the Resurrection.
We fly to your protection,
O Holy Mother of God;
Do not despise our petitions
in our necessities,
but deliver us always
from every danger,
O Glorious and Blessed Virgin.
“We fly to your protection, O Holy Mother of God”.
In the present tragic situation, when the whole world is prey to suffering and anxiety, we fly to you, Mother of God and our Mother, and seek refuge under your protection.
Virgin Mary, turn your merciful eyes towards us amid this coronavirus pandemic. Comfort those who are distraught and mourn their loved ones who have died, and at times are buried in a way that grieves them deeply. Be close to those who are concerned for their loved ones who are sick and who, in order to prevent the spread of the disease, cannot be close to them. Fill with hope those who are troubled by the uncertainty of the future and the consequences for the economy and employment.
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.
Protect those doctors, nurses, health workers and volunteers who are on the frontline of this emergency, and are risking their lives to save others. Support their heroic effort and grant them strength, generosity and continued health.
Be close to those who assist the sick night and day, and to priests who, in their pastoral concern and fidelity to the Gospel, are trying to help and support everyone.
Blessed Virgin, illumine the minds of men and women engaged in scientific research, that they may find effective solutions to overcome this virus.
Support national leaders, that with wisdom, solicitude and generosity they may come to the aid of those lacking the basic necessities of life and may devise social and economic solutions inspired by farsightedness and solidarity.
Mary Most Holy, stir our consciences, so that the enormous funds invested in developing and stockpiling arms will instead be spent on promoting effective research on how to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.
Beloved Mother, help us realize that we are all members of one great family and to recognize the bond that unites us, so that, in a spirit of fraternity and solidarity, we can help to alleviate countless situations of poverty and need. Make us strong in faith, persevering in service, constant in prayer.
Mary, Consolation of the afflicted, embrace all your children in distress and pray that God will stretch out his all-powerful hand and free us from this terrible pandemic, so that life can serenely resume its normal course.
To you, who shine on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope, do we entrust ourselves, O Clement, O Loving, O Sweet Virgin Mary. Amen.
The text of the letter can be found at: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/letters/2020/documents/papa-francesco_20200425_lettera-mesedimaggio.html
The text of the letter and prayers in Spanish are here: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/es/letters/2020/documents/papa-francesco_20200425_lettera-mesedimaggio.html