Ireland is fortunate in that she still possesses a number of ancient wooden sculptures, including several of Our Lady and a few of the Irish saints. The oldest of these figures is the twelfth century Madonna and Child from Kilcorban, Co. Galway. The figure venerated in the Carmelite church today under the title of “Our Lady of Dublin” has been compared in style to some of the early sixteenth-century sculptures in the Henry VII chapel at Westminster, and is probably of this period. It is a life size figure in oak, showing Our Lady holding her Child. Originally brightly painted, the figure had been later whitewashed over, unfortunately, the removal of the whitewash in 1914 also took off the ancient polychrome surface as well. The extended arm of the Child is a modern restoration.
Moslem troops, led by Tarik Ibn Zayid, successfully captured this peninsula (known at the time as Calpe) in AD 710. In honour of his achievement, Calpe was renamed ‘Gibel Tarik’, from where we get the name ‘Gibraltar’: the Mountain of Tarik. In keeping with their practices, and in thanksgiving to Allah, the Moslem troops built a fortress and constructed a mosque with a minaret at the southernmost part of Gibraltar, located just across from the North African coast. Once consolidated here, they marched into mainland Europe, conquering most of the Iberian Peninsula.
On Friday 8 June this year previous records were broken as millions of people in all parts of the world came together at prayer locations to join in the Worldpriest Annual Global Rosary Relay for the sanctification of priests. We believe we well exceeded the numbers participating last year, with in the region of 12.5 to 14 million people joining the 2018 prayer event, meaning that in the region of 700 million Hail Marys were said on the day.
To promote the ninth Annual Global Rosary Relay via communications networks and social media also on www.worldpriest.com, one of our Worldpriest directors Colm Flynn, a professional television producer, developed and presented a stunning gift of a promotional video featuring diverse prayerful images of Our Lady and showing many Global Rosary Relay prayer locations worldwide. The accompanying music brings one on a journey of speedy movement, uplifting the soul as one reflects on the spiritual journey of the Rosary Relay, while capturing the nature of this amazing and unique event. It has now been picked up all around the world and has gone viral!
Some people have asked us how exactly the Global Rosary Relay works in practice and how exactly they can best participate.
Over a twenty-four hour period on 8 June (the feast of the Sacred Heart) this year, groups of people at designated prayer locations around the world will pray the rosary and then hand over to another group until the entire globe is encircled in a spiritual prayer relay. It is all about praying for an allocated period of time and then spiritually passing on the prayer to the next prayer location. In this way millions of people will add their unique voice to what will become a tsunami of prayerfulness circumnavigating the world in a strong voice for the sanctification of our priests.
Lourdes, Fatima, Guadalupe and Champion all are part of a select group of places where the Blessed Virgin Mary is believed to have appeared.
In America, The National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help at Champion covers the peace-filled holy ground deemed ‘worthy of belief’ by authority of the Catholic Church, that Mary, the mother of Jesus, appeared.
Identifying herself as ‘The Queen of Heaven who prays for the conversion of sinners,’ Mary appeared in October 1859 to a Belgian immigrant woman called Adele Brise, on the grounds of Champion Shrine, when the town was known as Robinsonville.
Friday 8 June is now visible on the horizon and it’s all systems go at Worldpriest, working with our coordinators worldwide as we prepare to have the entire world praying the rosary again for one purpose – to pray for the sanctification of all the priests who minister to millions of Catholics around the world.
This year we believe we will exceed the incredible 10,000,000 participants who joined us in 2017 as we bring huge numbers of people from all cultural backgrounds together again to offer their prayers worldwide from a number of new prayer locations in various corner of the world.
The Gruta de Lourdes Shrine was inaugurated on January 6th (Epiphany day) 1925. It was a gift of a married couple, Angel Rivero and Manuela Boneta Babel, who had received a special grace in their 1922 visit to the French shrine of Lourdes. The original chapel was designed by one of the first Puerto Rican architects, Francisco Roldán, with Spanish Moorish decorative elements. In 1926 the couple erected the Grotto itself. On the feast day of the Sacred Heart in 1928 the monumental Carrara marble Via Crucis, made by the well-known Italian sculptor Enrico Arrighini was blessed. It still stands where the 14 life-sized statues were erected.
When Worldpriest founder Marion Mulhall was only two days old she was blessed by Father Patrick Peyton, who just happened to visit the nursing home in Enniscorthy, County Wexford, Ireland, where Marion was born.
Father Peyton was holding a Rosary Rally at Our Lady’s Island in County Wexford during those days which Marion’s dear late father attended. This is something very special and of great providential importance to Marion, who has been the driving force behind the Annual Global Rosary Relay, which last year saw in the region of ten million people around the world join in praying the Rosary during a twenty-four hour period of special prayers for our priests. The event took place at 168 single church locations in sixty-eight countries. On 3 June 2016, the twenty-fourth anniversary of Father Peyton’s death, Marion was overwhelmed with joy to meet Pope Francis in Rome. That same day was also the day when the Annual Global Rosary Relay Day of prayer took place. So that was a day that became a great gift of grace . . . when three wonderful events came together.
As the time to celebrate the Holy Family and the birth of Jesus draws nearer we would like to wish all our many supporters, their friends and their families around the world a truly happy and peaceful Christmas season.