Benedict XVI Pens Prayer for World Rosary Relay

48 Shrines in 35 Countries to Pray for Priests

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NEW YORK, JUNE 23, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI himself has written a prayer for the 2nd Annual Global Rosary Relay for Priests, which is set to take place on the solemnity of the Sacred Heart.

Some 48 shrines in some 35 countries worldwide will participate in the July 1 event, which will offer the recitation of the rosary for the sanctification of the clergy.

"Hear our prayer for the sanctification of our priests," the Pope wrote in the prayer. He also included a petition that priests "preach the Gospel with pure heart and clear conscience," and that they be "shining examples of a holy, simply and joyful life."

The rosary relay will begin at the Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles on June 30 at 5 p.m. local time (00:00 GMT, July 1), and end 24 hours later at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in New Franken, Wisconsin, on July 1 at 7 p.m. local time (00:00 GMT, July 2).

At each site, five decades of the rosary will be prayed and then the shrine will "pass the baton" on to the other locations. Each shrine is assigned to pray either the sorrowful, joyful, glorious or luminous mysteries.

Participating shrines are located in Australia, New Zealand, China, Singapore, Brunei, Philippines, India, Sri Lanka , Malta, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Nazareth, South Africa, Bosnia, Austria, Italy, Poland, France, Spain, Gibraltar, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, Ivory Coast, Ireland, Belgium, Great Britain, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Canada.

In a note sent to ZENIT from the Worldpriest Apostolate, the organizers of the rosary relay state that the event relay is "an opportunity for us to raise our hearts to God for all priests in the exercise of their ministry."

Worldpriest is the apostolate of laypeople who see to promote a "deeper understanding of the priesthood of Jesus Christ."

Benedict XVI's prayer for the event reads: "Lord Jesus Christ, eternal High Priest, you offered yourself to the Father on the altar of the Cross and through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit gave your priestly people a share in your redeeming sacrifice.

"Hear our prayer for the sanctification of our priests. Grant that all who are ordained to the ministerial priesthood may be ever more conformed to you, the divine Master. May they preach the Gospel with pure heart and clear conscience.

"Let them be shepherds according to your own Heart, single-minded in service to you and to the Church and shining examples of a holy, simply and joyful life.

"Through the prayers of the blessed Virgin Mary, your Mother and ours, draw all priests and the flocks entrusted to their care to the fullness of eternal life where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."

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On the Net:

World Priest Web site: www.worldpriestday.com

List of times and places: www.worldpriestday.com/rosary_relay_shrines.html