At least 840,000 people from 140 countries responded to Pope Francis’ appeal for children to join the “One million children praying the Rosary” initiative promoted by the Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).
“We are very happy with the response. All over the world children came together to pray for peace, even in countries currently at war,” said Thomas Heine-Geldern, executive president of ACN International in a statement.
The number only included people who registered on the ACN website for the October 18 event.
“Some of the numbers are amazing,” said Heine-Geldern. Poland is on top of the list with almost a quarter of a million participants, followed by Slovakia with 190,000.
ACN said in a report that while the numbers and statistics can give an idea of the scope of the “One million children praying the Rosary” campaign, “each individual prayer counts.”
“There are children who joined from countries where Christians are a small group, such as Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar,and Azerbaijan,” said Heine-Geldern.
Children joined from Asian countries where Christians do not have an easy life, such as Laos, Bhutan – where one person signed up – and Myanmar.
According to reports provided to the organization, the initiative had a large participation in hundreds of schools around the world.
Fifty schools officially joined the initiative in Kenya alone, and schools from Spain, Great Britain, South Korea, Argentina, Chile, and Mexico, to name just a few, also took part.
At the Shrine of Fátima, in Portugal, children from different countries gathered at the Chapel of the Apparitions to lead the daily recitation of the Rosary, which was broadcast live on television and radio, allowing for many more to tune in and pray as well.
Change the world
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.
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.
The aim of the prayer campaign is to ask for peace and unity throughout the world, while encouraging children and young people to trust in God during difficult times.