This photo taken and handout on June 14, 2020 by the Vatican Media shows Pope Francis holding a Holy Mass on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ at St. Peter's Basilica in The Vatican, as the city-state eases its lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus. (Photo: Handout / VATICAN MEDIA / AFP)
A global rosary initiative dedicated to praying for priests offered prayers from around the world for Pope Francis.
The annual Global Rosary Relay June 19 was sponsored by the Worldpriest Global Apostolate and was to include -- at 6 p.m. Rome time, noon Eastern time -- a gathering of people on the Zoom video chat platform praying for the pope's intentions, said a statement from the apostolate.
"Everyone around the world -- regardless of their location -- will be very welcome to join in this important prayer gift to His Holiness at the appointed time," the statement said.
According to its website, the Worldpriest Global Apostolate was founded by Marion Mulhall in 2003 to "affirm the dignity, beauty and gift of the priesthood of Jesus Christ to humanity."
The day was also inspired by St. John Paul II's establishment of the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests on the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus June 19.
"The idea is a simple one: each of the participating shrines around the world prays a particular mystery of the rosary at a particular half-hour in thanksgiving to God for our priests and to implore the protection and loving care of Our Lady, mother of all priests, for all her priestly sons," the website said.
In April, Pope Francis expressed his support for the annual initiative in a letter sent on his behalf by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state.
Imparting his apostolic blessing on the participants of the event, the pope "joins all taking part in praying that priests everywhere will be confirmed in their ministry of proclaiming and celebrating the merciful love of Christ the Redeemer, and become ever more fully shepherds after his own heart," Cardinal Parolin said.