Aparecida (Brazil) – The National Shrine of Aparecida, in Brazil, is one of the 30 shrines chosen by Pope Francis for the “marathon” of prayers for the end of the coronavirus pandemic. The church, curated by the Redemptorist, has represented the country in the agenda of prayers called by the Holy Father throughout May. The Rosary prayer took place last Thursday, May 06, and was broadcast to the whole world by the media of Aparecida Network and by the official channels of the Vatican.
“We are very grateful to Pope Francis because his gesture makes us very happy. This is a demonstration of his love for the Virgin Aparecida. We pray with great faith and with immense gratitude”, says the Archbishop of Aparecida and Redemptorist Oblate, Monsignor Orlando Brandes, responsible for leading the Rosary.
Joining him were several fathers, brothers and seminarians of the Congregation. Among them, the rector of the Shrine, fr. Eduardo Catalfo, C.Ss.R., was moved by the celebration – “To pray with Pope Francis is to pray with the Church. In a gesture of ecclesial unity and communion with the Holy Father, the National Shrine is close to the grieving families. There is only mourning where there is love. With hope and faith, we ask the protection of the Blessed Mother of God for the end of the pandemic,” he says.
In addition to the invocation for the end of the pandemic and the resumption of social and work activities, each shrine has a special intention in favour of the different categories of people most affected by the drama of the pandemic. In Aparecida, young people constituted this intention.
A group of teenagers benefited by the Redemptorist Social Works and the Shrine, together with young workers of the Basilica and seminarians of the Redemptorist Seminary of St. Alphonsus, were responsible for part of the prayers. They also carried the image of Our Lady of Aparecida on a platform for the altar. Bouquets were placed by the young people in front of Our Lady, recalling the five continents.
The Rosary and the transmission were organised by the Redemptorist Missionaries working in the National Shrine and the Aparecida Communication Network. The initiative is integrated with other actions of prayer and action promoted by the Redemptorists in Aparecida in the context of the pandemic.
In addition to spiritual comfort, brothers and priests are also engaged in social assistance to those affected by the pandemic. In 2020 alone, 94,000 people from Aparecida and nearby cities benefited from donations, projects and social works administered by the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer.
Victor Hugo Barros