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The pope has a prayer network of his own

The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network transmits Pope Francis’ call to pray the Rosary and to St. Michael the Archangel to overcome the crisis that the Church is currently experiencing. (Photo by Filippo Monteforte/AFP)

Raised to the status of a “pontifical work” in March 2018, the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network promotes Francis’ call to pray the rosary and to St. Michael the Archangel each day to overcome the crisis that the Church is experiencing.

The organization, which now has a strong presence on social media, is experiencing a renewal assisted by Rome.

When French Jesuit Father Frédéric Fornos, the international director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (PWPN), was appointed in 2009 to revamp the Apostleship of Prayer, as the network was previously known, he regarded it as an “outdated network that lacked dynamism.”

At the beginning of this century, the movement, which was founded in France by the Jesuits in 1844 and now has several branches, including the Eucharistic Youth Movement, was indeed well past its use-by date.

Things changed rapidly, however, after Pope Francis decided in 2014 to make it his personal prayer network, now re-titled the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network.

Since then, Pope Francis has directly communicated his prayer intentions to the network which publicizes them around the world.

“The pope is a person who believes enormously in the power of prayer,” said Father Fornos.

Thus, in response to the current sexual abuse crisis, Pope Francis requested the network to issue an invitation to pray the rosary and to St. Michael the Archangel each day against the devil for the month of October.

The PWPN, which was granted the status of a “pontifical work” in March 2018, immediately activated its social networks and produced a new “pope video” as it does each month.

These short “pope videos” are tools that have greatly contributed to the revival of the network.

Moreover, as evidence of the quality of the videos, they have been awarded 12 prizes for video production at recent international festivals.

The network has also launched other media platforms such as “ClickToPray.” This allows people to easily locate the videos and the pope’s prayer intentions, which are often based on current events and the challenges facing the world.

Now, the PWPN, which currently has around 35 million members in 89 countries, wants to make a return to creating small prayer groups in parishes, as the Apostleship of Prayer did traditionally.

These groups, which still have a strong presence in Latin America, are virtually non-existent in France.

However, Marie-Dominique Corthier, French-speaking coordinator and European assistant for the network, intends to change this.

She is now attempting to launch small parish groups to pray for the pope’s special prayer intentions in Toulouse where she lives.

“Our objective is to develop a series of relays that will make our digital platforms more widely known and assist people to participate in the pope’s prayer,” she said.

In 2019, leaders of the network from around the world will travel to Rome to meet Pope Francis and celebrate the 175th anniversary of the movement.

In preparation for this, Corthier has already contacted the French bishops to request them to send representatives from their own dioceses.

After returning, the plan is for these representatives to take up the role of promoting the pope’s prayers within each diocesan community.

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