On the Pope's Heart: May 2016
Pope Francis' Prayer for May 2016: Respect for Women and the Rosary
Pope Francis' universal prayer intention for May 2016 is that "women may be honored and respected" around the world.
Pope Francis has spoken often about the need for women's voices in the Church, calling for a robust "theology of women". He has also spoken about the role of women in the family and society, and reminding us of the connection between all women and the Mother of the Church, Mary.
Pope Francis says:
A Church without women would be like the apostolic college without Mary. The Madonna is more important than the apostles, and the Church herself is feminine, the spouse of Christ and a mother.
Women are forced into slavery and suffer human trafficking at greater rates than men. They suffer from sexual violence and oppression around the world. They are often barred from education and full integration in society.
We join him in lifting women up in prayer, esteeming all women wherever we encounter them. We join him in praying for a bountiful grace to be poured out on the world, that would enable all people to honor the contributions of women. We ask for the special intercession of Mary in this prayer.
Pope Francis prays in this month of the Rosary that families and communities "may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelization and peace".
Inspired by the late Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Francis has a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother and prays the Rosary faithfully.
He tells us:
Mary accompanies us, struggles with us, sustains Christians in their fight against the forces of evil. Prayer with Mary, especially the Rosary, has this ‘suffering’ dimension, that is of struggle, a sustaining prayer in the battle against the evil one and his accomplices. The Rosary also sustains us in the battle.
We join Pope Francis in committing to faithfully praying the Rosary, so that, united in prayer with Mary, we can push back against the forces of evil in this world.
Lord, you have given the Church your daughter, Mary, mother of Jesus. We honor her as first among the Saints, and know that she struggles with us. Give us the grace to honor and respect all women we encounter. Accompany women who are not honored. In this month of the Rosary, help us to turn more faithfully to this great prayer you have given us, praying fervently for a swift end to violence.
Watch the Pope's prayer video for May: