Archbishop John leads over 10,000 schoolchildren in a rosary

Archbishop John Wilson leads over 10,000 pupils across schools in South London and Kent in praying the rosary

Over 90 Catholic schools across South London and Kent took part in a rosary led by Archbishop John Wilson, as part of the Archdiocese of Southwark’s campaign to encourage young people to pray.

Archbishop John led the rosary from Notre Dame Secondary School in Southwark, where he was joined by children from St George’s Cathedral Catholic Primary School.

Pupils from across South London and Kent joined online, with the rosary was broadcast live. The Archdiocesan wide rosary is part of a wider plan to encourage young people and children to ‘Give Prayer A Go’ and to make prayer a part of their daily lives.

Archbishop John said:

“I’ve been praying the rosary since I was a teenager, it’s a prayer that means so much to me so it was a great joy to share in this great gift with so many young people and children in our Archdiocese.

“The rosary is so powerful because through Our Lady, we are led to Christ. Praying the rosary, in classrooms and in our homes, helps us to realise the beauty of our Catholic faith and helps us draw closer to the Lord Jesus.

“I hope this is just another step toward schools and young people praying the rosary regularly, and to ask the Blessed Mary, through her prayers, to lead us closer to her Son.”

Around 30 children from St George’s Cathedral Catholic Primary School were at Notre Dame with the Archbishop. The school has a Spiritual Life Committee, where during October and May children take part in a daily rosary led by teachers. Parents are also invited and encouraged to take part in the rosary before school.

The Headteacher, Louise Grabowski, said:

“Prayer life is so important at our school. Every day we come together to pray, which not only helps the children build their personal relationships with Christ, but it also helps them to build a bond with each other.

“That’s what felt so special about this rosary, we were able to show our pupils they’re part of something so much bigger.”

The rosary was hosted at Notre Dame Roman Catholic Secondary School, near St George’s Cathedral in South London. The Headteacher of the school, Blon Byrne, said:

“Creating a spiritual life in schools is so important and it’s a priority of ours at Notre Dame.

“The rosary felt like a real community celebration and underlined why making prayer a part of our schools is so crucial. I know our school will look to build on this event, as we continue to help our pupils achieve their full potential spiritually, academically and socially.”

The Archbishop thanked all those who took part, especially Notre Dame for hosting the rosary and St George’s for attending in person too. St Catherine’s Catholic Girls School took part in the rosary by using sign language for the Hail Mary. 

Primary and secondary schools, as well as sixth-forms, from across South London and Kent joined the rosary via zoom. At the start of the event, Archbishop John told the pupils about the history of the rosary and how it helps to build a closer relationship with Christ, through Mary. Throughout the mysteries, Archbishop John encouraged the children and young people to pray for their loved ones, each other and their teachers. But he also asked them to pray for those in the Holy Land, Ukraine and Sudan – reminding us all of the need to unite our prayers to those suffering around the world.

The Archbishop fielded questions from pupils on the day, who asked about the rosary and what it is like being an Archbishop. Archbishop John replied that his greatest joy is getting to share something, each and every day, about the beauty of the Catholic faith with all he meets.

The rosary was organised by the Education Service in the Archdiocese of Southwark, as part of the Archdiocese’s prayer campaign, Give Prayer a Go. This aims to provide people with practical and inspiring ways to make prayer a part of their life.

The campaign has been a huge success so far, including a video initiative during Lent which released a prayer video a day across social media promoting much loved prayers within the Catholic Church. On Facebook alone, the videos had a combined reach of over 12 million people.

Archbishop John Wilson also released a video message on 1 May, encouraging people to pray the rosary for the Month of Mary. In the message, the Archbishop explained:

“Turning to Our Blessed Lady through the Rosary helps us to draw closer to Christ. Through our praying the Rosary, and Our Lady’s intercession, we recall God’s promise to us in the Lord Jesus. Our Mother Mary is a model for all of us. She shows us how to be a true follower of Christ”.