The international foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) invites all parishes, nurseries, schools and families to take part in another yearly edition of “One million children praying the Rosary”, on 18 October. “The Rosary is highly valued by God, and praying it is more necessary than ever, for two reasons: firstly, because the Mother of God asked for it specifically in the apparitions that have been approved by the Church! Secondly, because it is part of the experience of the Church, and of many of its saints, as confirmed by the Magisterium and in keeping with the sensitivity of our Christian faith”, says Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, president of ACN.

In this year’s campaign ACN invites the children to meditate on the Biblical passage in which St Joseph is warned by an angel, in a dream, to leave immediately for Egypt. Thanks to the help of God’s messenger, Joseph was able to protect the life of the infant Jesus.

“It is imperative that our world recovers the concept of guardian angels, to whom we can turn for help, so that we may clearly recognise and distinguish the many different challenges of our time. Shouldn’t we start teaching our children the prayer to the guardian angel, which was such a staple of the Church’s life for many centuries?”, asks the Cardinal, in his invitation to join the initiative.

Children praying the rosary in Cabo Delgado, Pemba, Mozambique, on 18 October 2022.

With situations of war, violence and extreme poverty in countries such as Ukraine, Nigeria, Myanmar and Pakistan, as well as in regions of the Middle East and the Sahel, in Africa, ACN wishes to entrust to God, in a special way through the powerful intercession of His Mother, all the places and people who cannot live in peace.

In previous campaigns groups from different countries have responded very positively to ACN’s invitation to join in this initiative. In 2022 Pope Francis, after the Angelus prayer, encouraged the faithful to take part: “I thank all the children who are participating! Let us join them and entrust to Our Lady’s intercession the martyred people of Ukraine and other people who are suffering due to war and any form of violence and poverty.”

Free resources to help with prayers in parishes, schools, groups or families can be found on ACN’s website. The package contains instructions on how to pray the Rosary, reflections for children about the Mysteries of the Rosary and a prayer of consecration of children to the Mother of God. The package is available in eleven languages and includes colouring pictures.

The origins of the prayer initiative “A million children praying the Rosary” date back to the year 2005 when a group of children were seen praying the Rosary at a local shrine in the Venezuelan capital Caracas, and some of the adults who witnessed the scene were reminded of the words of Padre Pio, who once said: “When a million children pray the Rosary, the world will change.” Since then, the campaign has spread rapidly and become a worldwide phenomenon.