Pope Francis was joined by First Communicants and young people who have recently been confirmed, as well as by newlyweds and expecting couples, scouts, families, and religious, as he prayed the concluding Rosary for the month-long Marathon of Prayer.
The relay of prayer brought together 30 shrines from around the world, each leading the Rosary on a different day of the month, and offering if for the end of the pandemic, as well as a particular intention related to the virus.
You can see each of the shrines and learn about the Marian image associated with them here.
Pope Francis himself kicked off the Month of Prayer by leading the Rosary from St Peter’s Basilica on May 1, praying before the image of the Madonna del Soccorso (Our Lady of Help).
On Monday, May 31, the Holy Father chose to lead the Rosary from the Vatican Gardens; an open-air Shrine was prepared for the image of Our Lady Untier of Knots, to whom the Pope has a special devotion.
For the ceremony, a new copy of the image was brought from Augsburg, Germany, the home of the original painting. The Bishop of Augsburg, Bertram Joannes Meier, led a procession bearing the image to the outdoor sanctuary.
Each of the decades was introduced with a special intention:
that Mary might “untie the knots”:
of wounded relationships;
of sickness and uncertainty;
and of all that stands in the way of regular pastoral ministry.
Shrines from around the world were connected live to the Rosary in the Vatican.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the Holy Father crowned the image of the Virgin Mary, praying that, like Mary, “we too might consecrate ourselves” to God’s service, “and make ourselves available to one another in charity.”
After giving his Apostolic Blessing, the Holy Father thanked those who participated in the Marathon of Prayer, “who with one voice have raised their prayer to the Holy Mother of God.”
And, he added, “we continue to ask the Lord to protect the whole world from the pandemic, and that everyone, without exception, will soon be given the opportunity to protect themselves through vaccination.”