32,000 Rosary Decades Offered for Pope's UK Visit

Donor: British Catholics Are Devoted to the Pontiff

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LONDON, SEPT. 6, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Over 32,000 rosary decades and 11,500 Masses will be offered for Benedict XVI’s Sept. 16-19 visit to the United Kingdom.

Aid to the Church in Need reported that its prayer and action campaign for the intention of the Pope’s visit has seen an «enthusiastic» response.

Neville Kyrke-Smith, the national director of the aid agency’s U.K. branch, said, «Whilst there has been much negativity in the secular media about the visit of Pope Benedict, it is a fantastic sign of faith that the friends of Aid to the Church in Need have renewed their commitment to pray for the Holy Father and the suffering Church.»

He noted that the spirit of Cardinal John Henry Newman, who will be beatified during the Pontiff’s visit, is «very much alive — the generosity of so many Catholics speaks ‘heart to heart’ to all those who suffer today.»

«The commitment of prayer equates to over six months of continuous prayer,» Kyrke-Smith affirmed.

He said, «Our hope is that prayer will continue, in support of the proclamation of the Gospel in today’s challenging world.»

Supporters who requested to have Masses said for the intentions of the Pope will have their names written in a commemorative book, which will be presented to the Pontiff on his visit.

Stipends for these Masses will be used by the aid agency to help priests in countries experiencing persecution or other forms of suffering.

Middle East

The agency is also including in the commemorative book the names of donors who support its work in the Middle East.

It noted that the emphasis on aid to that region comes «in direct response to a request from Benedict XVI who warned that as a result of oppression, poverty and emigration, the Church there is threatened in its very existence.»

The agency received over 6,300 donations for the Middle East projects, which include subsidized housing for Christians in Jerusalem, emergency support for Iraqi Christians who are displaced in other countries or regions, support for seminarians and religious, construction of churches, and media initiatives.

Kyrke-Smith stated that «this positive Papal campaign encourages us all in faith, hope and charity for Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world.»

Patricia Hatton, the agency’s U.K. fundraising and marketing manager, underlined the fact that this campaign has «given a voice» to those benefactors «who, in the face of media indifference and worse, believe strongly in the message of Christ and who are convinced that prayer has the power to strengthen the life of the Church.»

The agency shared some of the messages from these benefactors. One stated, «I am concerned that every opportunity should be taken to show the world, particularly the secular ascendancy here, that British Catholics are devoted to the Pope.»

Another donor affirmed the aid agency’s work to «support the suffering Church,» while being «totally loyal to the Holy Father.»

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On the Net:

Prayer and action initiative: www.acnuk.org/pope

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