Mumbai, June 30, 2019: Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the Archbishop of Bombay, joined people from around the world in the Global Rosary Relay on Friday, the Feast of the Sacred Heart.
Different churches in over 70 countries participated in the event, each dedicating at least 30 minutes to the rosary at different half-hour intervals of the day. Organizers estimated over 1 billion decades of the rosary were said for the intention of the sanctification of priests.
“Today at the Global Rosary Relay, we pray for all priests, our own sanctification and sanctification of all priests of the Archdiocese of Bombay, the Church in India and in the Universal Church,” Gracias told Crux at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, where the event took place.
“It is essential, that we work out our sanctification through our time for personal prayer, celebration of the Eucharist and the daily rosary,” the cardinal said.
“We also work out our sanctification through our preaching, through our life, and also through our service. We also work out our sanctification through our dedicated ministry and also through our apostolates, our service to the people, our charitable work,” he continued.
The Global Rosary Relay is a project begun a decade ago by Worldpriest, a lay organization of professional communications people formed in Ireland in 2003 in order to “affirm the dignity, beauty and gift” of the priesthood. The Feast of the Sacred Heart was chosen since St. John Paul II declared it to be the World Day of Prayer for Priests in 2002.
“The purpose of this initiative is to pray for priests – for their ministry – so that they may help the entire Church respond to the Lord’s call, so that God’s Kingdom may come in all its fullness, and that the Trinity may be glorified,” Bishop John Rodrigues, rector of the Mumbai basilica, said at the beginning of the prayer event.
“With the coming of midnight GMT on June 28, 2019, the entire world will have been encircled in prayer for our priests on this Annual Rosary Relay Day,” the bishop said.
Friday’s rosary was led by the clergy team of the basilica: Father Michael Goveas led the 1st and 4th Joyful Mystery; the 97-year-old former rector, Msgr. Nereus Rodrigues, led the 2nd and 5th decade; and the rector himself led the 3rd decade. After each decade, a verse of the Hymn to our Lady of Fatima was sung. The rosary was then followed by a Holy Hour of Reparation.
Gracias told Crux the event “is an invitation to grow in closer proximity with Jesus.”
The cardinal said on the Feast of the Sacred Heart, “we pray for our own sanctification, and in imitation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus we are called to be good shepherds to all people.”
“We begin this by own sanctification by coming closer to Jesus, begging pardon for our sins, and trying to be as close imitators of the Lord Jesus as we can be,” he said.
“I am united in prayer with our priests. I am with them, and I ask them to pray for the Archdiocese of Bombay and the Church in India. This is an invitation to grow in closer proximity with Jesus,” he said.