The faithful living in countries in crisis around the globe are turning to the power of the Rosary ever more frequently, with the latest being the Philippines where a 33-Day Rosary novena to stop the escalating violence between police and drug traffickers is officially underway.
The Catholic News Agency (CNA) is reporting on the campaign that was organized by the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines and kicked off on Sunday, November 5.
On that day, an estimated 3,000 Filipinos gathered for Mass and a procession along the historic Manila highway known as the Abenida Epidanio de los Santos, which was the scene of a non-violent protest that helped end the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.
Filipinos have pledged to pray the Rosary for 33 days, until the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, on December 8th.
The campaign is aimed at ending the violent clashes between drug traffickers and the police which have left 7,000 Filipinos dead since President Rodrigo Duterte’s crackdown was launched a year ago.
“While police say the killings have been acts of self-defense against armed gangs, critics allege that police forces are conducting unauthorized, extrajudicial executions,” CNA reports. “Vigilante groups are also said to have conducted murder in the midst of the drug war.”
The violence has to stop, the bishops say, and are urging the people to pursue healing and repentance.
“Repent so healing can begin. Stopping the killing is only one big step. The journey of healing for the values of our nation turned upside down will be a long journey still,” said Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Filipino bishops conference.
The faithful in the Philippines are joining what appears to be a worldwide turning toward the power of the Rosary and its stellar record of attracting history-making episodes of divine intervention as a way to restore peace in their countries.
In 2014, Nigerian Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme initiated a world-wide rosary campaign aimed at defeating the terrorist group, Boko Haram, which was responsible for widespread carnage as well as the kidnap of hundreds of Nigerians, including 200 innocent school girls. In late 2014, the bishop was praying in his chapel one day, begging the Lord for help, when Jesus appeared and handed him a sword. When the bishop reached for the sword, it turned into a Rosary, prompting him to implore the faithful to pray the Rosary for the defeat of terror. His appeal eventually went viral and within two years, the Boko Haram terrorist group was driven from its forest camp and its fighters scattered.
The country of Ireland is planning to kick off the “Rosary on the Coast for Life and Faith” on Sunday, November 26, the feast of Christ the King, with the intent of thwarting an effort to repeal the country’s Eighth Amendment, which guarantees the rights of the unborn child, thus opening the door to abortion.
On October 7 of this year, close to one million people in Poland gathered into a human chain around the nation’s borders to pray the Rosary “to save Poland and the world.”
Many credit the new momentum toward the Rosary to the renewed interest in the apparitions of Fatima which were extensively highlighted during recent celebrations of the 100-year anniversary of the events that took place in 1917.
In their book, The Rosary: Your Weapon for Spiritual Warfare, authors Johnnette Benkovic and Thomas K. Sullivan call attention to the words of St. John Paul II who warned that today’s crisis are so serious that only heaven can help us now.
In his apostolic letter on the Rosary, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, he wrote: “The grave challenges confronting the world at the start of this new Millennium lead us to think that only an intervention from on high, capable of guiding the hearts of those living in situations of conflict and those governing the destinies of nations, can give reason to hope for a brighter future.”
Regardless of where we live or what our challenges might be, let us all pick up our Rosary every day and join our voices to those of the faithful around the world in a fervent plea for the help we so desperately need.
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