Rosary for the Bishop Celebrates Six Months, Over 28,000 Rosaries
Rosary for the Bishop, an online campaign praying for Catholic bishops, celebrates six months of international service on July 1st. The concept for the online prayer campaign grew out of a prayer effort begun in 2005 in Madison, Wisconsin, which collected prayers for Bishop Robert Morlino of the Diocese of Madison. On January 1, 2010, the prayer effort was expanded to include all U.S. Bishops, and additional countries have been since added in response to requests from visitors to the site.
"At the beginning of 2010, we launched Rosary for the Bishop for all US bishops," said Tom Reitz, one of the site's administrators. Since then, membership has grown quickly, with over 800 participants from 45 US states and 10 other countries. "We kept getting emails from people saying 'can you please add the bishops of my country?' So we did. Now the service is available for bishops in the US, UK, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Gibraltar, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada." So far, 28,000 rosaries have been prayed for over 250 Catholic bishops.
RosaryForTheBishop.org allows visitors to pledge a monthly or weekly rosary for any bishop. The website collects and displays anonymous statistics about how many rosaries have been prayed, and offers the option to receive reminder emails. The website also features a Google map flagging the locations of participating dioceses.
"Rosary for the Bishop is a growing, evolving program," pointed out Reitz. "We keep adding new features to the site, especially features that members have suggested." Since the website was launched, a blog, Facebook "like" buttons, and more granular control of the prayer reminders have been added, and other features are planned.
What do bishops think of the initiative? Several bishops have endorsed Rosary for the Bishop. Bishop Morlino from Madison said that "it gives me great serenity to know that so many men and women are turning to Mary, asking her special care and intercession for the bishops." "Rosary for the Bishop is a special blessing and source of encouragement for me," added Bishop Nickless of Sioux City, Iowa.
"The original effort was inspired by the Exodus passage (17:11) in which Aaron and Hur help Moses to keep his hands lifted up in prayer so that Israel would be victorious," says Syte Reitz, one of the founders of Rosary for the Bishop. "Heaven knows that our good bishops are under fire for standing up for our Catholic Faith nowadays. What can we do about it? Support them with our prayers!"