In one Indian diocese, 26,000 students pray rosary together

IN THE SYRO-MALABAR Eparchy of Idukki, India, 26,000 students participated Oct. 18 in the “One Million Children Praying the Rosary” campaign which was sponsored by Aid to the Church in Need.

Bishop John Nellikunnel, who heads the eparchy, reported that “more than 26,000 of the about 30,000 pupils aged from six to 18 years took part with joy … They also sang songs and held processions around their schools … As October is the month of the rosary and rosary processions were being held regularly anyway, many of the children prayed the rosary again that evening together with their families.”

Catholic students in the Diocese of Idukki, India

The occasion was a comfort to the bishop, who is confronting many difficulties in his Eparchy. The region is under-developed compared to the rest of the country and regular rainfalls and flooding cause fatalities, and often lead to dramatic losses in harvests. “For the farmers, this often means a battle for survival,” the bishop said, expressing his gratitude to ACN for its support for the eparchy for many years, with regard to faith formation, the building of churches, and the formation of priests. Mass stipends play an important role as well.  The bishop said” “ACN benefactors are a true blessing for us, they continue to be needed!”

The campaign “One Million Children Praying the Rosary” was initiated in 2005 in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas after a number of children prayed the rosary at a wayside shrine, leading the women who were present to 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 the faith through the power of children’s prayers.

This year, the special focus of the campaign was mission, as Pope Francis had designated the month of October as the Extraordinary Missionary Month. With the motto “Baptized and Sent: The Church of Christ on Mission in the World,” the missionary spirit was revived worldwide through pastoral and spiritual initiatives. Missionaries and new missionary vocations were the focus of children’s prayers.

—Matthias Böhnke