ACN calls on children around the world to pray for peace and unity—annual campaign

AID TO THE CHURCH IN NEED is calling on children worldwide to take part in the “One Million Children Praying the Rosary” campaign. This year’s theme is mission, as Pope Francis has designated the month of October 2019 as the Extraordinary Missionary Month. Under the motto “Baptized and Sent: The Church of Christ on Mission in the World,” the intention for the month is to revive the missionary spirit worldwide through pastoral and spiritual initiatives. For this reason, the children will be praying in particular for missionaries and new missionary vocations.

This year’s rosary campaign will once again take place on October 18. “Traditionally, October is the month of the rosary and we also celebrate the feast day of St. Luke the Evangelist on October 18. He was the only evangelist to write about the childhood of Jesus and is traditionally thought to have had close ties to the Virgin Mary,” Father Martin Barta, the Ecclesiastical Assistant of ACN International, explained. On this day, at 9AM—or at any other appropriate time—thousands of groups of children worldwide will pray the rosary together.

“Each year we receive reports back from all over the world, telling us how children celebrated the day of prayer,” Father Barta said. “It has truly become a prayer campaign of the World Church, which not only moves the hearts of children, but also those of adults and blazes a trail to peace!” The campaign is observed in a variety of ways: some participants pray the entire rosary, others just a part. Some gatherings not only pray, but also include a catechesis on praying the rosary, short readings and children’s hymns. Others invite the children to draw the Mysteries of the Rosary in addition to praying. In some places, teachers stop their regular lessons to pray along with the children.

The campaign began in 2005 in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas after a number of children prayed the rosary at a roadside shrine, leading women who were present to strongly experience the presence of the Virgin Mary. In keeping with the promise of Saint Padre Pio—“When one million children pray the rosary, the world will change”—the campaign is intended to strengthen confidence in the power of children’s prayers.

On a dedicated webpage, www.millionkidspraying.org, ACN has made available a wide selection of materials for the campaign as free downloads in many different languages, as well as background information. The materials include a poster and a four-page prayer leaflet with texts, meditations on the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary and instructions on how to pray the rosary. In addition, there are reports and photos from past campaigns as well as coloring pictures for children.

—Matthias Böhnke