NewsWorldThe digital campaign 'A Hail Mary for Francis' is launched as the 10th anniversary of the pontificate approaches

The digital campaign ‘A Hail Mary for Francis’ is launched as the 10th anniversary of the pontificate approaches

Photo: Juan Roleri (file).

In less than a month, on March 13, Pope Francis will celebrate ten years of his pontificate and one of the activities being prepared around the world is the call for “A Hail Mary for Francis”, a campaign devised by young Catholics that uses of networks and religious symbolism to offer the leader of the Church “the best gift we can give him”, the massive fulfillment of his already famous phrase “pray for me”.

The initiative came from a group of young people who participate in the digital Synod (process of consultation and listening to the faithful) and who, given the proximity of the anniversary, agreed to create a platform that contributes to Francis’ request to pray for him and that -from the visual- can represent on the web the personal prayer of each believer.

This is how the site came about www.decimus-annus.orgwhich is already active on the Internet where it adds prayers and wills.

On the objective of the convocation, the secretary of the Dicastery for Communication of the Holy See, the Argentine priest and theologian Lucio Ruiz explained to Télam that the invitation to pray a Hail Mary echoes the Pope’s request with “a double meaning”, that of “thanking God for Francisco’s ten years” and at the same time “praying that he assist in his ministry”.

Lucio Ruz Secretary of the Dicastery for Communication of the Holy See
Lucio Ruíz, Secretary of the Dicastery for Communication of the Holy See

The religious and Vatican official, with studies in computer science and business administration, said that the campaign was promoted by “some 700 influencers in the world who are doing the synodal experience listening to the networks” and that as the ten years of the papacy approached they resolved create something that was typical of the digital environment and that was linked to the phrase “pray for me”.

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“They designed a very simple program, which consists of placing how many Hail Marys you want to pray in the month of preparation for the tenth anniversary and then, when you enter, a candle is lit from the place in the world from which that prayer starts. That’s how it began the campaign that each influencer is carrying through the networks, to invite people to join the initiative, which they liked a lot and is slowly spreading,” Ruiz said in a telephone communication from Rome.

On the website you can see the progress of the campaign -available in Spanish, Italian, English, French, German and Portuguese-, which is visually reflected in “a map of sentences” which is updated every time a person at any point on the planet accesses the page to record the prayer of a Hail Mary for Pope Francis: when it is updated, a new lit candle appears (72,743 have been lit up to now) in that specific corner of the map .

“His pontificate is a pontificate that was dedicated to presenting the mercy of God, an image of God who forgives man, who embraces man, who redeems him”lucio ruiz

The Secretary of the Department of Communication announced that when the tenth anniversary of the pontificate is over, they will present to Francisco “the (electronic) map with all the candles burning with light in the world”; To do this, they will print a very large-scale version of the world map, a gift that, on the other hand, is intended for a Pope, he said, who is very interested in communication issues.

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“A journalist once asked me: ‘how do you pass on communication strategies to the Pope?’ And then I told him: ‘No, you were wrong, it’s the other way around, we’re going to learn communication strategies’ Because the way in which he communicates is a fairly new event: his communicative dynamic is tenderness, proximity, closeness, compassion, suffering with the needy, with the one who suffers. He is a great communicator, he is not a communication theorist”, Ruiz graphically referred to Francisco’s imprint on these issues.

And on this point, he added: “Being able to collaborate with the Pope in the digital age is not a lesser challenge, it is really a very important thing, challenging, very beautiful, but also very difficult. Because one has to understand what the communicative dynamic is that he wants to give: that of making God reach and feel the closeness of people”.

AFP photo
AFP photo

-Télam: The values ​​that you mention when speaking of the Pope, tenderness, compassion, closeness, contrast with a world that is observing how the war between Ukraine and Russia continues. Francisco is ten years old, and the war one. How does he live it?
-Lucio Ruiz:
It is a great pain, because if one looks at it from the perspective of the encyclical “Fratelli tutti”, a synthesis of all his teaching, it is clear that the Pope’s proposal is universal brotherhood. But faced with this we find the terrible thing about war and that dialogue finds no place to help, to resolve, to reach peace. We find ourselves with a war that escalates, that continues to develop and the situation worsens every day until we find humanity in danger. War is the counter-criterion of tenderness, of proximity, of understanding the other, of trying to understand situations and looking for paths of peace, which sooner or later will have to be found through negotiations. We hope it’s sooner.

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-T: You spoke of some attributes that characterize Francisco’s way of communicating. If you had to choose one fundamental feature of these ten years of papacy, what would it be?
Mercy. His pontificate is a pontificate dedicated to presenting the mercy of God, an image of God who forgives man, who embraces man, who redeems him. Pope Francis lavished himself infinitely, all the time, to make us understand this: that the name of God is mercy. So, what we, the priests, the Church as Church and the whole world have to do, is to go looking for the one who suffers, in order to understand the tenderness of God’s embrace.


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