Sunday, September 29, 2013

Reflections from the International Prayer Vigil at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in DC

(credit photo:Candlewood Photography)
The Children's Rosary recently traveled by bus to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC on Sept 21st.  This was a kick off vigil for 9 days of prayer and fasting which concludes Sept 29th.  This Week of Prayer and fasting for Peace, the Protection of life and Conversion of Nations was supported by Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa of Calcutta during their lives.  Pope John Paul II conveyed an Apostolic blessing to all who participate in the week of  prayer and fasting.

(photo credit :Candlewood Photography)
Members from a number of different Children's Rosary groups met in Waterbury, CT to make the 6 hour trip by bus to DC last Saturday.  Many of the children were sponsored financially to help defray the costs of the bus ticket.  This support was such a blessing... thank you all.  Each child carried the name or names of the individuals that helped sponsor them for the trip and prayed for them throughout the day.  

The day began before dawn with many rising around 3 AM to make the trip to Waterbury to meet the bus which departed at 4:30 AM.  The children and adults arrived at the Basilica around 10:30AM safely in time to participate in the Procession of Nations and then to attend Holy Mass at Noon. The Blessed Sacrament was then exposed and the Children's Rosary began at 2PM.  The children knelt on the top step of the stairs leading to the main altar with Jesus present before them in the Blessed Sacrament.  
The children took turns leading the rosary at the podium and also placed roses at the foot of Our Lady at the end of each decade.  The children led the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary.
(Photo credit: Candlewood Photography)
As one of the children was placing a rose at the foot of Our Lady a child was saying: Mary I humbly place this rose at your feet and ask for the grace of faith if it were the first glorious mystery.  The graces asked for correspond to the mysteries of the Rosary.

A child places a rose at Our Lady's feet
(Photo credit: Candlewood Photography)
One of the members of the Children's Rosary, John Sipper, translated the Children's Rosary into sign language.  John has attended a number of Children's Rosary group meetings and provided translation.  This has been a tremendous blessing to the group and has been a wonderful reminder of how dear all children are to our Our Lady and her Son and how pleasing it is for them to see all their children included in prayer.

Translation into sign language
(Photo credit: Candlewood Photography)
All the children did a remarkable job leading the Rosary reverently and with love.  Many of them are very young and only were able to reach the microphone by standing on a step stool. The Rosary concluded with one of the children providing an unexpected treat.  Christina age 9 sang the Hail Holy Queen in Latin.  Throughout the large Basilica the soft sound of others joining in could be heard.  But then it fell quiet.  One person there remarked later.  "I didn't want to hear the sound of my own voice  in my head I wanted to hear her angelic voice."  

The children found time to explore this beautiful and holy space...this being the largest Church in the United States.  The children could be found catching a quiet moment in prayer from time to time.  The long day came to a close around 7:30 PM when all gathered on the bus for the long trip home.  With heavy rain the trip was slow and the bus pulled into Waterbury in the early hours of the morning...around 3AM. This journey was one for Our Lady and her Son a gift to them but also a gift from them as such a trip could not have been possible without heavenly assistance.

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