7000 rosaries for the children of Iraq’s Nineveh Plains—a gift to Mary!

INSPIRED BY THE ONE MILLION CHILDREN PRAYING THE ROSARY CAMPAIGN, a prayer group of ACN donors made and donated thousands of colourful rosaries for our staff to take as small gifts to children on their project visits. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, travel has been severely restricted leaving the box full of rosaries sitting at the ACN headquarters.

However, John Smith, an ACN consultant engineer, was due to travel to Iraq and Kurdistan to monitor some ACN construction projects in the Nineveh Plains. He saw the rosaries and lamented about how some children in Iraq had to use their knuckles to keep count of their Hail Marys. It didn’t take long to agree that supply had to meet demand and that those rosaries could not sit there any longer, unprayed! With the help of ACN staff children the rosaries were bundled into packages of 100. Soon they had an overweight suitcase filled with 70 such rosary-filled envelopes.

Almost immediately upon arrival, John presented the 7000 rosaries to be blessed by Archbishop Nizar Semaan of the Syriac Catholic Archdiocese of Hadiab-Erbil (Dohuk & Sulaymaniyah in Kurdistan), an ACN project partner.

 “It was quite an evening. Mgr. Nizar was so excited he wanted to go out to a catechism class and pass out rosaries. I gave a little introduction in which I explained a bit about the million children praying the rosary and how Our Lady is sensitive to the prayers of young people because they pray from the heart. The kids were excited when they came to pick up their rosary. Then they all, about 90, gathered on the altar to pray a decade. It has been a special evening,” reported John right after the blessing.

Along with the rosaries, he distributed the rosary praying leaflets in Arabic for the children. The rosaries and leaflets were presented to sisters and parish priests who are involved in the Catholic schools, kindergartens, catechism groups, and an orphanage, through whom they reached the children. Just to mention a few: Sister Clara Nas, Mother Superior of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Sienna happily received 700 rosaries, the children at St Afram parish school Quaraqosh received 200 rosaries, Father Amar received 2000 rosaries for his Al-Tahira parish, and also 200 rosaries went to the children of St. George Syriac Orthodox parish and school in Bashiqua. Newly ordained Chaldean Bishop Thabet Yousif Al Mekko of Alqosh also received rosaries and flyers for St Adday parish in Karamles.

This gift from ACN donors to the Catholic children of the Nineveh Plains arrived just in time for the start of the Advent season, to accompany Mary in prayer and joyful expectation for Christ’s coming. And really, it is a gift to Mary, as Father Martin Barta, Ecclesiastical Assistant at ACN International reacted with gratitude at the enthusiasm with which the rosaries were received: “It really made us very happy but much more—it made Our Lady happy and smiling.”

Thank you all for praying with us!

—Eugenia Calonje