Rosary Campaign Launched for World Youth Day

Interview With director of Family Rosary International

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NORTH EASTON, Massachusetts, MAY 11, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Several organizations are coming together to promote a campaign launched by Family Rosary International to unite people worldwide in praying the rosary for the success of World Youth Day.

ZENIT interviewed Holy Cross Father James Phalan, director of Family Rosary International, about this campaign, which is gaining publicity across the globe.

ZENIT: What is "Firm in the Faith With Mary?"

Father Phalan: It is a simple call to people all over the world to join in prayer of the holy rosary for World Youth Day each Saturday from the beginning of May until the event, August 16-21 in Madrid.

It is, of course, directed to young people but also to people of all ages, everywhere!

Pray with your family, pray with a parish group or pray in solitude at whatever time you would prefer, knowing that you are united in prayer with people on every continent.

ZENIT: Why pray for World Youth Day now?

Father Phalan: We are now only a few months from an event that will bring together well more than a million pilgrims, most of them young, to celebrate and give living witness to our faith.

Since the first World Youth Day 25 years ago, the event has become a very important opportunity to awaken and deepen faith for young people around the world.

This year's World Youth Day in Madrid, August 16-21, can be a great moment of grace for the new evangelization not only of young people, but also for all throughout Europe and the world.

What could be more important than uniting the Church throughout the world, the body of Christ, in prayer to invoke the Holy Spirit and his gifts for World Youth Day? As we know from Jesus himself, our prayer has the power to move mountains.

ZENIT: How did "Firm in the Faith With Mary" begin?

Father Phalan: "Firm in the Faith With Mary" was born of an interesting ecclesial union and collaboration. A number of organizations have been working to prepare the Love and Life Center, a home for English speaking pilgrims during World Youth Day: the Knights of Columbus, the Sisters of Life, Holy Cross Family Ministries (a.k.a. The Family Rosary, of which I am a part), Salt and Light Television, and the Apostleship of Prayer.

Sharing our desire to help prepare for World Youth Day with other friends, like Aid to the Church in Need and the Rosary Promoter of the Dominican Order, we decided to propose this campaign, which was soon heartily endorsed by the World Youth Day organization and the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

You can see that this initiative is for the whole Church!

ZENIT: For the whole Church?

Father Phalan: Yes. It is now very possible to unite people around the world.

Recently we have been witness to the power of media to effect rapid socio-political change. So let us now harness the power of media for an even greater good, the good of changing hearts and remaking our world through the grace of Christ.

ZENIT: How will "Firm in the Faith With Mary" work?

Father Phalan: For this wide promotion of "Firm in the Faith With Mary" we need to make full, dynamic and up-to-date use of the Internet.

The campaign Web site, video resources and social networking will be accessible at firminfaith.org or firmesenlafe.org. Also resources for promotion of the campaign will be available for download from this page.

The interactive and video functions of the Internet will allow a rich sharing of prayer, reflection, and Web resources so that we can grow in our life in Christ as we journey together on our World Youth Day pilgrimage. This journey has already begun!

At the same time as we reach out to people around the globe electronically, we hope that local communities will join in prayer of the rosary and in sharing faith -- and that they will bring their experience to other communities through the Web.

Uniting many people and local communities, we have, through God's grace, the chance to do something truly remarkable -- to create through this campaign a global, interactive community united in and through prayer.

ZENIT: How can someone participate in "Firm in the Faith With Mary?"

Father Phalan: We really hope for several things.

First and most importantly, that people commit themselves to participate in the campaign through their prayer of the rosary each Saturday.

Also we encourage people to visit our Web site to sign up and be counted and to keep connected on the web.

Furthermore, we hope people will share the good news of this campaign by inviting others to participate, by word of mouth or by the Internet. If a person or a group has a Web site, it is easy to place a banner or some other link to our Web page.

ZENIT: Father James, you seem to be very passionate about Firm in the Faith with Mary? Where does this passion come from?

Father Phalan: I hope that I can be the spiritual son of two great priests. One is the founder of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, Blessed Basil Moreau, and the other is the founder of the Family Rosary, the Servant of God Patrick Peyton.

They both loved our Mother Mary deeply and consecrated themselves to her.

Blessed Basil founded our order to evangelize and educate at the beginning of our contemporary period. He was a man who was passionate for God, both in his prayer and his missionary zeal to make God known, loved and served.

Father Peyton began our mission in 1942. He knew that praying the rosary, particularly in the home, is a simple yet powerful response to a world at war and to crisis in the family.

His words, "the family that prays together stays together," are more important than ever.

ZENIT: It seems particularly appropriate that you are launching "Firm in the Faith With Mary" at the time of the beatification of John Paul II.

Father Phalan: We feel the same way. Our beloved John Paul II was so devoted to Our Lady and her rosary. He made it clear that the rosary was his "favorite prayer."

In his apostolic letter, "Rosarium Virginis Mariae" (2002), he renewed our understanding of the rosary, calling it a "contemplation of the Face of Christ with Mary."

He wanted us to know that by living as a Church of the Eucharist and in the "school of Mary," we will be a praying community on fire in the Spirit in the mission of the Risen Lord.

Believing in the power of prayer and in Mary's love for us, her children, together with Blessed John Paul II we entrust World Youth Day and our whole world to our Holy Mother through this campaign.

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On the Net:

Campaign Web site: www.firminfaith.org

Family Rosary International: www.familyrosary.org