By Jessica Easthope
One after another, 53 Hail Marys echoed through the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
The rosary is part of a global call by Pope Francis to dedicate May, Mary’s month, for the end of the pandemic.
The rosary started on May 1st in Rome and over the next month, 30 countries will pray at a Marian Shrine for a collective as well as an individual intention.
Here in the United States it’s for world leaders.
“It’s the world leaders who have control over what’s taking place,” says Msgr. Walter Rossi, rector of the Basilica. “They’re the ones who have put in the shutdown, they’re the ones who do the rollout, the opening and they’re the ones getting us all vaccinated.”
Msgr. Rossi says this is for everyone affected by this pandemic and felt its profound loss.
“They have a very important role to play in this entire pandemic situation, especially in bringing it to an end,” he said.
Antonieta Berteh prays the rosary every single day, but saying it in communion is different, especially after losing her mother to COVID-19 five months ago.
“I really hope that the intercession of our Blessed Mother will finally end this pandemic that has caused so much pain,” says Berteh.
Monday’s rosary was led by Cardinal Wilton Gregory, the Archbishop of Washington D.C.
Nancy Brockington says she comes to Basilica three days a week, but couldn’t miss saying the rosary with a church leader she says, has paved the way.
“I’ve just heard so much about his career, about how he became Catholic at 11 or 12 years old, and all that he’s done throughout the United States for the Catholic Church and I just admire him so much,” Brockington said.