Almost 200 locations have been confirmed for the Rosary on the Coast later this month, with nine bishops saying they will take part.
The mass prayer event, scheduled for 3pm on Sunday April 29, will extend from the island of Guernsey off the coast of France to St Ninian’s Isle in Shetland, between Scotland and Norway.
An online map of the 197 locations shows the greatest density of prayer groups is around Portsmouth. The Diocese of Plymouth, which covers much of the West Country, has 16 groups – the highest of any diocese.
Organisers say the day is aimed at a “re-flourishing of the faith, for the grace to build a culture of life and for true peace to reign in the hearts of all peoples and nations”. It follows similar events in Poland and Ireland.
Last month Pope Francis sent his blessing to those taking part in the event. The nuncio, Archbishop Edward Adams, said he assured participants of his “spiritual closeness” and placed them “under the protection of Our Lady”.
Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury will attend a rosary event at the Dome of Home, New Brighton, Wallasey, run by the traditionalist Institute of Christ the King, while Bishop Mark O’Toole has said he will join a group at the Hoe, Plymouth, and Bishop William Nolan of Galloway will be at Ayr beach.
Other bishops who have confirmed they will take part are Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth, Bishop Tom Burns of Menevia, Bishop Ralph Heskett of Hallam and Bishop John Keenan of Paisley.
Antonia Moffat, one of the organisers of the event, welcomed the support of the bishops and the Pope. She said: “They are the successors of the apostles. Their blessing and endorsement gives a far greater spiritual weight and efficiency to the prayer.”
She said the strong response showed the initiative had “touched something in people’s hearts”, adding: “We are an island nation – we have a very strong history connected to the sea.”
She noted that the map of rosary groups, available at rosaryonthecoast.co.uk, had been viewed 30,000 times since it was launched last month.
Some prayer locations are inland for those who cannot reach the coast that day – for instance, the cathedrals of Nottingham and Sheffield are hosting rosary events.
Miss Moffat said the prayers of the sick and housebound, wherever they were, would be of great value. “In the end, prayer is prayer. It doesn’t matter where you are,” she said.
She quoted St Louis Marie de Montfort, who said: “When people say the rosary together it is far more formidable to the Devil than one said privately, because in this public prayer it is an army that is attacking.”
In London there are only four confirmed locations. Two of these are on either side of the Thames: at Victoria Embankment, on the north side, and in front of the South Bank.
Sunday April 29 is the feast of Our Lady of Faith and of St Catherine of Siena, and comes two days after the anniversary of the full implementation of the 1967 abortion act.
Forty days of spiritual preparation are due to end on the Friday, while on Saturday participants are encouraged to go to Confession.
The dioceses with the most prayer locations so far, after Plymouth, which has 16, are East Anglia and Arundel and Brighton, which each have 14.
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