· Vatican City ·

The Pope’s invocation at the end of the Marian month

May the Lord protect the world from the pandemic

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05 June 2021

On Monday afternoon, 31 May, in the Vatican Gardens, Pope Francis presided over the recitation of the Rosary before the image of the Virgin Mary “Untier of Knots”, at the conclusion of the “Marathon of Prayer” for an end to the Covid-19 pandemic and the resumption of social and work activities. Joining the Holy Father in the prayer were first communicants, young people who have recently been confirmed, newlyweds, scouts, families, expecting couples and religious. The following is a translation of the Pope’s words.

At the conclusion of this Marathon of Prayer to ask for an end to the pandemic and the full resumption of the pastoral and social life, I am particularly pleased to thank the Dicastery for the New Evangelization and the 30 shrines, which during this month have taken turns in leading the prayer of the Rosary under the presidency of individual Bishops. I have seen much participation among the People of God, who through the media and the efforts of so many Shrines throughout the world have reached millions of people, who with one voice have raised their prayer to the Holy Mother of God.

It is thanks to the Diocese of Augsburg that the image of Knotenlöserin [“Untier of Knots”] — today venerated in this open-air Shrine — has arrived. A beautiful copy by the painter Ana Maria Berti.

We continue to ask the Lord to protect the whole world from the pandemic, and that everyone, without exception, will soon be given the opportunity to protect themselves through vaccination.

Good evening, thank you and pray for me.

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At the end of April, Pope Francis asked all Catholics throughout the world to pray throughout the month of May — traditionally dedicated to devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary — for an end to the Covid-19 pandemic and for a resumption of everyday work and social activities. Each day of the month, a different Marian shrine led the faithful in a recitation of the  Rosary that was broadcast around the world.

Pope Francis himself kicked off the Month of Prayer by leading the Rosary from Saint Peter’s Basilica on 1 May, praying before the image of  Our Lady of Help. On Monday, 31 May, the Holy Father chose the Vatican Gardens as the location for the prayer, where an open-air Shrine was prepared for the image of Our Lady Untier of Knots, to whom the Pope has a special devotion.

For the ceremony, a new copy of the image was brought from Augsburg, Germany, the home of the original painting.  Bishop Bertram Joannes Meier of Augsburg led a procession bearing the image to the outdoor sanctuary, attended by children and young people who had recently received first communion or been confirmed, a group of scouts from Rome, and some families and religious sisters representing the People of God.

A group of young people carried the image, accompanied by an honour guard of Swiss Guards and Vatican gendarmes.

After the Holy Father began the prayer, the various decades of the Rosary were led by young people from Catholic Action, some families composed of newlyweds or expecting parents, and a family of deaf people who recently welcomed a religious vocation.

Each of the decades was introduced with a special intention: that Mary might “untie the knots” of wounded relationships; of unemployment; of violence; of sickness and uncertainty; and of all that stands in the way of regular pastoral ministry.

To represent the worldwide character of Monday’s prayer, shrines from around the world were connected live to the Rosary in the Vatican.

Sanctuaries from France, Germany, Rwanda, Chile, Spain, Scotland, Paraguay and Italy all joined together to pray with the Pope and Catholics around the world for an end to the pandemic.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the Holy Father crowned the image of the Virgin Mary.