VATICAN CITY — Told that some people think Pope Francis isn’t exactly a fan of the rosary, Jesuit Father Federic Fornos practically shouted, “What?”
“Pope Francis says the rosary is the prayer of his heart. He prays it every day,” said the international director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, formerly known as the Apostleship of Prayer.
Father Fornos was at the Vatican press office Oct. 15 to launch the latest effort to respond to what he said was Pope Francis’ explicit request that the network help young people learn to pray and love the rosary.
The Click to Pray eRosary is both a free app for Apple and Android and an actual high-tech rosary bracelet that connects to a smartphone using Bluetooth. Making the sign of the cross with the rosary automatically opens the app on the phone, while clicking one of the prayer beads allows the person praying to advance through the prayer texts, music and images on the screen.
Father Joao Chagas, head of the youth office at the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life, said the app — described on clickto prayerosary.org — is “a concrete sign of the pope’s desire to enter the lives of young people and help them pray.”
Pope Francis’ big push to get young people to pray the rosary came in the run-up to and the celebration of World Youth Day in Panama in January, Father Fornos said. Hundreds of thousands of rosaries were distributed to the young people taking part.
But the pope has not let up. Speaking to Polish pilgrims at his weekly general audience Oct. 9, Pope Francis reminded them that when Mary appeared to two young women in Gietrzwald, Poland, in 1877, she told them, “Pray the rosary every day” and, the pope said, “she assured them that the graces imparted by this prayer would be salvific and would lead people to happiness in heaven.”
“Remember these words, especially now, in the month of October dedicated to the rosary,” the pope continued. “Through the intercession of Mary, mediator of graces, we ask for peace for the world, wisdom for those who govern and for faith and unity for families.”
Marking the month of the rosary in 2017, Pope Francis tweeted: “The rosary is a synthesis of the mysteries of Christ: we contemplate them with Mary, who allows us to see with her eyes of faith and love.”
But his admonitions to pray the rosary were particularly fervent in October 2018 when the Catholic Church was reeling from accusations about clerical sexual abuse and, particularly, its cover-up.
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