MADISON -- Rosary for the Bishop, an online campaign praying for Catholic bishops, celebrated six months of international service on July 1.
Begun in 2005 in Madison, the online prayer campaign grew out of a prayer effort to collect prayers for Bishop Robert C. Morlino of the Diocese of Madison and on January 1 the prayer effort was expanded to include all U.S. bishops. Additional countries have since been added in response to requests from visitors to the site.
"At the beginning of 2010, we launched Rosary for the Bishop for all U.S. bishops," said Tom Reitz, one of the site's administrators. Since then, membership has grown quickly, with over 800 participants from 45 U.S. states and 10 other countries.
"We kept getting emails from people saying 'can you please add the bishops of my country?' So we did. Now the service is available for bishops in the US, UK, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Gibraltar, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada," he said.
So far, 28,000 Rosaries have been prayed for more than 250 Catholic bishops.
RosaryForTheBishop.org allows visitors to pledge a monthly or weekly Rosary for any bishop. The Web site collects and displays anonymous statistics about how many Rosaries have been prayed and offers the option to receive reminder e-mails. The Web site also features a Google map flagging the locations of participating dioceses.
"Rosary for the Bishop is a growing, evolving program," said Reitz. "We keep adding new features to the site, especially features that members have suggested."
Since the Web site was launched, a blog, Facebook "like" buttons, and more granular control of the prayer reminders have been added and other features are planned.
What do bishops think of the initiative?
Several bishops have endorsed Rosary for the Bishop. Bishop Morlino said that "it gives me great serenity to know that so many men and women are turning to Mary, asking her special care and intercession for the bishops."
"Rosary for the Bishop is a special blessing and source of encouragement for me," said Bishop R. Walker Nickless of Sioux City, Iowa.
"The original effort was inspired by the Exodus passage (17:11) in which Aaron and Hur help Moses to keep his hands lifted up in prayer so that Israel would be victorious," said Syte Reitz, one of the founders of Rosary for the Bishop. "Heaven knows that our good bishops are under fire for standing up for our Catholic faith nowadays. What can we do about it? Support them with our prayers!"
For more information about Rosary for the Bishop, visit www.RosaryForTheBishop.org News updates are also available via Facebook and Twitter.