VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis prayed that the hopes for peace strengthened by the meeting of the leaders of North and South Korea will not be dashed, and he urged Catholics during the month of May to pray the rosary for peace.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in made a “courageous commitment” April 27 to ongoing dialogue to achieve “a Korean peninsula free of nuclear weapons,” Pope Francis said April 29 after leading some 30,000 people in praying the “Regina Coeli.”
“I pray to the Lord that the hopes for a future of peace and more brotherly friendship will not be disappointed and that the collaboration may continue bringing good fruits for the beloved Korean people and the whole world,” the pope said.
Noting that May is a month the Catholic Church dedicates to Mary in a special way, Pope Francis told the crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square that he would begin the month with a visit to Rome’s Shrine of Divine Love and lead a recitation of the rosary there.
“We will recite the rosary praying particularly for peace in Syria and the whole world,” the pope said. “I invite you to spiritually join me and to prolong for the whole month of May praying the rosary for peace.”
After Pope Francis entered the old 18th-century church at the shrine May 1, one of the Daughters of Our Lady of Divine Love, the religious order founded there, introduced the rosary by quoting from Pope Francis’ Easter address: “Today we implore fruits of peace upon the entire world, beginning with the beloved and long-suffering land of Syria, whose people are worn down by an apparently endless war.”
The pope was joined in the small church by just over 100 people, including a few children and young adults, who assisted in leading the recitation of the prayers. Hundreds of other people were gathered outside and along the paths to the new church, which was consecrated in 1999.
Each Saturday night from Easter through the end of October, pilgrims set off at midnight from within the walls of Rome and walk about 10 miles to the shrine, where they attend a special Mass at 5 a.m. Sunday.
In the Diocese of Richmond, the “Rosary for Racial Justice and Reconciliation” is said at 2 p.m. on the first Friday of each month in the Pastoral Center. People throughout the diocese can join in the recitation via teleconference: (844) 572-5683, ext. 4828689.
Further information is available by contacting Pam Harris, director of the diocese’s Office for Black Catholics/Asian Ministry, at (804) 622-5104 or www.richmonddiocese.org/obc.