Poland – The last public rosary prayer in Warsaw, on 5 March, was attended by about 500 people and was recited for a just peace in Ukraine. For the past three years, every first Saturday of the month, the sidewalks of many Polish cities have been filled with groups of kneeling men reciting the Rosary together. It is an initiative called the “Men’s Rosary” (Męski Różaniec), with rallies bringing together men from different Catholic backgrounds who find strength in this Marian prayer to protect and defend their families from the attacks of anti-Christian ideologies. The organisers of the Men’s Rosary rallies say they want to attract men who share similar values without necessarily being part of Catholic communities or movements, men who are often discouraged and who may think that today faith can only be transmitted at home and that it is something impossible to express and share in the public space. The Men’s Rosary contradicts such a vision of religion as a strictly private matter.
In Warsaw, men of all ages, including little boys accompanying their older brothers, fathers, and grandfathers, gather at morning Mass at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in the Old City, and then head towards the statue of the Virgin Mary on Krakowskie Przedmieście Street, where, kneeling in neat rows, like an “army of God”, they pray the Rosary together. Similar rallies take place in Kraków, Gdańsk, Częstochowa, Poznań, and some 30 other cities in Poland.
On 2 October, the first Polish–Hungarian Men’s Rosary took place in Budapest. Paweł Jaworski, the founder of the Community of the Soldiers of Christ (Żołnierze Chrystusa), was hoping that the prayer action in the Hungarian capital would be the beginning of other such actions in other European countries: “This is a unique event that aims to begin building ties with Hungary, but we also believe that as a Community of Soldiers of Christ we are called to spread the men’s Rosary throughout Europe and the world. Following the historical link with our Hungarian brothers, we are starting with Hungary. We believe that it is not our wisdom or strength, but the Lord God who wants us, through the Blessed Mother, to begin a crusade of rosary prayer in Europe, starting with Hungary. We believe it will spread throughout Europe. We go there full of faith”, he explained on Polish Catholic Radio Maryja.
The organisers of these Men’s Rosary rallies wish to spread them to other countries, and such rallies have already taken place in foreign capitals marked by the presence of a strong Polish diaspora, such as Vilnius and London. In Ireland, a country with a Catholic tradition, the action is also being emulated by locals.
The chaplain of the initiative is Father Dominik Chmielewski, a Salesian priest well known in Poland for his pastoral activity, especially in pro-life circles. On the Men’s Rosary’s Polish website, we find the motto of the movement: “We believe that our role, the role of men in God’s plan, is to protect for eternal life all those whom God has given us here on earth. Just as St. Joseph was the earthly protector of the Holy Family, we have the task of defending the sanctity of our families and loved ones. We want to do it together, in a community of men. In this unity, we strengthen our identity and our masculine virtues.”
It is emphasised that the choice of this prayer is only the recognition of the will of the Virgin Mary, who indicated it as the path of sanctification of life for everyone during her apparitions in Lourdes, Gietrzwałd (the only Polish site of Marian apparitions recognised by the Church), Fatima, Akita and Kibeho. The organisers are also inspired by the Marian devotion of the greatest Polish saints of the last century. John Paul II dedicated his pontificate to Mary, expressing this in his motto “Totus Tuus”, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński “staked everything on Mary”, and St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe was a great “knight of the Immaculate” of his time.
On 13 July 1917, Our Lady said at Fatima, “You have seen hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. It is to save them that God wants to establish in the world the devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If you do what I tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace.” The Men’s Rosary is a practical and concrete response to this call.