AID TO THE CHURCH IN NEED (ACN) is issuing an open invitation to children and families around the world toparticipate in an extraordinary event taking place on October 18, 2018: “One Million Children Praying the Rosary.” Father Martin Barta, the Spiritual Assistant of ACN International.
The idea for the campaign came about in 2005 in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela. While a number of children were praying the rosary at a wayside shrine, several of the women in attendance strongly felt the presence of the Virgin Mary. They immediately thought of Saint Padre Pio’s promise: “When one million children pray the rosary, the world will change.” And that is exactly what this is all about: having faith in the power of children’s prayers.
How can people join in the campaign?
Quite simply: we are inviting teachers, priests, kindergarten teachers and parents to pray the rosary together with children on Oct. 18, 2018 for peace and unity in the world. ACN makes available instructional materials on the prayers of the rosary, posters and a letter of invitation for children and adults. Please see www.millionkidspraying.org/en
Why the 18th of October?
October is traditionally the month of the rosary; the 18th is the feast day of Saint Luke the Evangelist. He has handed on to us the story of Jesus’s childhood and, according to tradition, is said to have been close to Our Lady, the Mother of God.
Why has ACN gotten involved in this prayer campaign?
We not only see ourselves as a pastoral charity, but also as a community of prayer. Our founder, Father Werenfried van Straaten, venerated Our Lady of Fatima. There, the Virgin Mary proclaimed to the visionary children, “Pray the rosary every day, in order to obtain peace for the world.” The daily project work that is carried out by ACN in 149 countries allows the organization to see first-hand just how gravely Christians and the entire world are suffering from the effects of terrorism and war. Only God can bring peace. We can play a part in this—through our work, but first and foremost through our prayers.
Do you receive reports from the World Church on how many children are taking part?
Our materials for the prayer campaign are available in 25 languages, including, for example, Arabic and the West African Hausa language. Children from around 80 countries and on all continents are taking part. Accounts of the events are frequently sent to ACN, over the past year we received reports from countries such as Argentina, Cuba, Cameroon, India and the Philippines. It is truly a campaign of the World Church!
Children and the rosary: this is not an easy connection to make for the Churches in the West. How do you get young people excited about these prayers?
I believe that it is actually the other way around: children are far more open to the rosary than a lot of adults. When the rosary is prayed correctly and under proper guidance, it reveals a view of the Virgin Mary, one that grows more intimate the longer you pray the rosary. And getting this intimate view of Our Lady is something that we can learn from the children!