According to various reports from the Vatican and Italy's media: 

Pope Francis spoke from the library of the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican today March 18, 2020, asking Catholics and every religious community, to spiritually unite in prayer amid worsening conditions relative to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Pope Francis urged people wherever they are, to join and unite in the spirit of prayer together, on the Feast of St. Joseph, which is Thursday, March 19th. 

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Pope Francis invites every person, every Catholic, and every religious community to pray the rosary at (9:00 pm, Italy time, 4pm for New Jersey). The Holy Father asks for reflection on the Luminous mysteries. Click here to learn how to pray the rosary. 

Although many are quarantined and the rest practicing social distancing, local prayer groups from various parishes have been utilizing technology like ZOOM to get together to pray the rosary. Colts Neck resident Laura Howe, a parishioner at Saint Leo the Great Parish in Lincroft, NJ, has invited members of the St. Leo rosary group to log on to the ZOOM app and pray together.

It has now become the best part of the day for many participants. "We are a group of women who have been getting together to say the rosary for close to 20 years. My close friend Joan Kret and I started in our homes when our children were young. Then we grew our group and moved to the church and also over the years have gathered for prayer at various homes. With social distancing we cannot physically gather together to pray. So, there is this great technology available to use like the ZOOM app which enables us to come together once a day to pray the rosary without leaving our homes. Anyone with a smart phone or computer can form a virtual prayer group. Even if you don't have updated technology, two people together on a landline phone can make it happen! Remember: For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” – Matthew 18:20."

The following is a translation of the pope's remarks regarding the rosary initiative:

Tomorrow (3/19) we will celebrate Saint Joseph. In life, work, family, joy and sorrow he always sought and loved the Lord, meriting the praise of Scripture as a just and wise man. Always invoke him with confidence, especially in difficult times, and entrust your lives to this great Saint.

I join in the appeal of the Italian bishops who in this health emergency have promoted a moment of prayer for the whole country. Every family, every faithful, every religious community: all united spiritually tomorrow at 9 p.m. in the recitation of the Rosary, with the Mysteries of Light. I will accompany you from here.

We are led to the luminous and transfigured face of Jesus Christ and His Heart by Mary, Mother of God, health of the sick, to whom we turn with the prayer of the Rosary, under the loving gaze of Saint Joseph, Guardian of the Holy Family and of our families. And we ask him to take special care of our family, our families, especially the sick and the people who are taking care of them: doctors, nurses, and volunteers, who risk their lives in this service.

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