A grassroots Catholic crusade for a day of a rosary prayer for the future of Great Britain has gained the support of key prelates, following on similar initiatives in Poland, Ireland and Italy.
The campaign, which now has 60 confirmed locations along the British coast, has garnered the endorsement of the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Bishop John Keenan of Paisley (Scotland), Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth, the Archdiocese of St. Andrews & Edinburgh, as well as a number of other clerics and associations.
Organizers have called on the faithful In Scotland, England and Wales to gather along Britain’s coasts on April 29 to pray the rosary for “faith, life and peace in the British Isles.” The traditional rosary prayer invokes the intercession of the Virgin Mary, asking her to beseech her son Jesus to come to the aid of those in need.
In a recent letter, the General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Fr Christopher Thomas, praised the campaign’s “act of witness” while assuring organizers the prayers of Cardinal Nichols.
“In the very secularised world in which we live, praying for ‘faith, life and peace’ in our countries is a vital component in witnessing to the truths of the Gospel,” he wrote.
“The Church must be resolute in this work so that its mission of proclaiming the Word that brings Life reaches all who live and work in Great Britain.”
In a video post, Bishop John Keenan of Paisley called for Catholic to come out to pray, “imploring Our Lady to now arouse a great renewal of our Christian faith in our country.”
He said that prayers should be directed in a special way against rampant secularization, as well as to “bring about an end to the scourge of abortion in our land, and usher in a new era of peace for all our nations.”
“Our poor country is being tossed around in a dark and turbulent storm of aggressive secularism that’s threatening ever more the dignity of the human person, the sanctity of life, and the joy of authentic relationships,” he said.
“All the while tensions are rising in our country, hope’s fading in Europe and it seems a new terror [is] rising across the world,” he noted.
Last year’s rosary event in Poland drew more than a million faithful to pray for the nation’s future, but also incited the ire of mainstream media, which labeled the prayer campaign a “problematic expression of Islamophobia.”
The event took place on Oct.7, the Feast of the Holy Rosary, which commemorates the anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto, where “the Christian fleet overcame the Muslim armada, saving Europe from Islamization.”
The feast was established by Pope Pius V in 1571 after the “Holy League” won a decisive victory over the invading Ottoman Turks at the Battle of Lepanto. At the time, much of Europe was under siege from the Islamic forces, which sought to conquer the entire continent for Allah.
The AP warned that the national event, which was endorsed by Polish church authorities, had “anti-Muslim overtones.”
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