The Worldpriest Global Rosary Relay for the Sanctification of Priests 2021 breaks all participation records.
Friday 11 June 2021 – the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus – will go down in history as a day to remember. It was a day when people all over the world prayed in every corner of the globe in huge numbers, contributing to the resounding success of the Worldpriest Annual Global Rosary Relay for the Sanctification of Priests 2021. In many prayer locations the local bishops took part, giving added impetus to this great annual prayer event.
The relay started at the Shrine of Our Lady Magadan in Siberia, then on to China, other regions of Asia and thence to the United States. From there it travelled to Peru, from France to Australia, then from Africa to the Far East and from El Salvador to Iceland, involving huge numbers of people praying in a real time relay that criss-crossed the globe. The prayer event ended at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Barbara, California. The level of participation tends to double year-on-year, as many new locations are added and the number of people taking part continues to soar.
Archbishop Eamon Martin, Primate of All Ireland, joined in prayer from Armagh Cathedral and through the Irish Bishops Conference he encouraged all in Ireland and around the world to participate, stressing that the Rosary Relay is a unique event that supports all priests the world over, sanctifying and guiding them in their daily work and ministry.
The newly-elevated International Eucharistic and Marian Shrine at Knock County Mayo, Ireland participated with an inspiring and profoundly special time of prayer, led by Father Richard Gibbons shrine rector.
St Joseph’s Cathedral, Diocese of Burlington Vermont, USA.
This unprecedented event gave hope and consolation to vast numbers of people everywhere, as the wonders of technology opened up unprecedented opportunities in the form of live streaming. Facebook live and YouTube live also enabled vast numbers to pray at designated prayer locations within countless dioceses, despite the closure of churches at this time. Those participating prayed or joined on line at basilicas, cathedrals and churches, in cities and towns and villages, as well as in family homes and at work, even in the most remote regions.
Technology played a major role this year in bringing the event to every corner of the world.
Somehow as 2021 began to show signs of emerging from the pandemic, people wanted to join in solidarity, praying for the sanctification of the many priests who have worked so hard to provide support and guidance to their parishioners, during what has been a hugely challenging time for all.
Once more Pakistan delivered an outstanding performance under the direction of the untiring Worldpriest representative in Pakistan, Naveed Anjum. This year, despite the pandemic, it was an amazing result for Naveed and his TeamWorldpriestPk, as seventy-five prayer locations took part across five dioceses, representing participation by no less than one million people in Pakistan.
This was a year when records were broken in every direction. In Canada our representative Isabel Gillis reported that numbers were more than double over last year, with people joining in from every state in that vast country, including the remote Northwest Territories. One notable email from Canada, along with photographs, came from a tiny chapel in the middle of a forest at Port Colborne, where the directors of the shrine gathered, receiving the relay from Williamsburg, Virginia. After praying the rosary, they handed on to West Hempstead, New York. Director Carole Marceau led prayers for those who suffered or died during the pandemic and her colleague John Tamas prayed for peace in the world. They concluded by singing the Salve Regina in celebration of being able to conduct communal prayer again after months of isolation.
By standing before the Eucharistic Christ, we become holy.
Blessed Carlo Acutis
For the first time in the twelve-year history of the annual Worldpriest Global Rosary Relay, the event was celebrated in all fifty states of the United States of America, with each state having a participating prayer location. Reports were sent to Worldpriest founder Marion Mulhall from a number of prayer locations there. Leana Sirey Avendāo was in touch from the Church of St Thomas the Apostle, Campbell Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona, where Fr Steve Kunkel led the Rosary after Mass. From Wagner, South Dakota, Donald Koupel reported on the event that linked the parishes of Wagner and Dante and celebrated the work of priests in that region. The Stengal family of Ratcliff, Arkansas, sent a warm and joyous email, along with photographs. In Utah, a new location in the relay, people took part from the Cathedral of the Madelaine, Salt Lake City, with blessings from Bishop Solis. In Montana our gratitude goes to Dan Bartleson, the communications services director at the diocesan office of Montana’s Cathedral of St Helena. This year Bishop Kopacz of the Diocese of Jackson Mississippi invited the Carmelite Sisters to be a participating prayer location. The sisters joined in with much joy and lived streamed the prayer time from their monastery in that capital city. Other newcomers were from the Cathedral of St Mary in Cheyenne Wyoming, and Our Lady of Grace parish in Indian Land South Carolina, under the direction of Fr Jeffrey Kirby. From Providence, Rhode Island, Edward Gallagher, President of the Rhode Island Legion of Mary, had the following to say: ‘The Worldpriest Global Relay Day on 11 June was a great and holy day here at St Mary’s Church, Providence, Rhode Island. A newly-formed group of young people, members of the Legion of Mary, organised and led a wonderful time of prayer, despite the challenges of Covid.’ Meanwhile in the Diocese of Burlington Vermont, Bishop Christopher Coyne led the Rosary, which was live streamed throughout the diocese from St Joseph’s Cathedral. Participating Prayer Location List – World Priest
Mary’s Grotto, Pukekaraka Ōtaki, New Zealand.
We would particularly like to thank the Catholic Daughters of America for their support in ensuring the participation of certain states. Thanks also must go to our honoured media partners EWTN for their wonderful support for Worldpriest and for their invaluable assistance as always in broadcasting live television, radio and internet-based programmes in English, Spanish and German, helping to promote the Global Rosary Relay worldwide.
Margarita Konstantopoulou, our Worldpriest representative was in touch from Greece on behalf of the members of Recemos Juntos El Rosario who participated in this year’s event, with members from Greece, Honduras and El Salvador, along with members from the United States. She also prepared a PowerPoint presentation of the event, where Mass was celebrated by Fr Nelson Diaz at La Parroquia Santa Elena, Antiguo Cuscatlán, El Salvador.
Of course Greece was not the only European location to take part this year. Each of the twenty dedicated Marian shrines throughout the continent of Europe took part as usual, along with many national shrines dedicated to Our Lady worldwide, as many have been doing since the Global Rosary Relay began in Ireland twelve years ago when the modest aim was to have only twenty-four countries taking part.
From India there was an email from Bishop John Rodriques, Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount in Bandra, Mumbai, where the relay was celebrated at the request of Cardinal Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay. Bishop Rodriques stated that although places of worship were closed in Mumbai the event went online, with YouTube attracting 1,247 views during the event.
Communauté du Chemin Neuf, Abbuna Faraj Guest House Nazareth, Israël participated in the
2021 Worldpriest Annual Global Rosary Relay.
In Africa there was a wonderful tribute paid to Worldpriest from Kampala, the capital of Uganda at the Holy Cross Ministries Office in Nsambya. In his closing remarks, Fr Francis Mukasa expressed his thanks for the lives and work of priests in his country when he said: ‘It’s a blessing that you have remembered us on this day and prayed for us. We really need the prayers for God’s grace to continue serving in His vineyard.’
The date for the 2022 Worldpriest Global Rosary Relay prayer event is 24 June, but in the meantime do not forget that every Thursday is Rosary Thursday, and on the last Thursday of each month Worldpriest hosts a virtual Rosary Thursday time of prayer for the Sanctification of priests praying the Luminous Mysteries, being led each month by a different priest from various locations worldwide. Rosary Thursday – World Priest
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