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'The Pope Video' initiative celebrates fifth anniversary

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ROME — "The Pope Video," a monthly video featuring the pope's prayer intentions, has given Catholics around the world an opportunity to be united and feel a part of the universal church, said Jesuit Father Federic Fornos, international director of the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network.

Speaking with Vatican News May 27, Father Fornos reflected on the launch of "The Pope Video," which he believed "would last three months, one year at max."

However, five years later, "it is still going forward for much longer," he said.

Founded in 2016 during the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, the special holy year proclaimed by Pope Francis, the initiative began with a video message from the pope praying for a specific intention.

The videos were released every month in nine languages as a way "of helping pilgrims to pray," he explained.

The objective, Father Fornos told Vatican News, "was to find a new language to help everyone pray for the Holy Father's intentions. We wanted to explain why it was important to pray, for example, for human fraternity or for peace as the pope has asked us to do."

Since then, "The Pope Video" has expanded to several major languages, including Chinese, Swahili, Russian, Korean, Polish and Japanese. This year, he said, the pope's monthly prayer intentions will be translated in Filipino and the Mayan Q'eqchi' language.

"We organizers weren't the ones who requested the translation of the video in Maya Q'eqchi'. It was the people of Guatemala and Belize who asked for it," Father Fornos said.

Many of them, he said, "are young people who watch 'The Pope Video' and share it on various social media platforms. It is a way for them to feel in communion with the Holy Father and with the mission of the church."

Father Fornos said monthly videos can help Christians "discover the power of prayer together, in our diversity, in communion with one another" in order to face "the great challenges of the world."

"Even if we pray for five to six minutes, this communion is truly a great fruitfulness for the mission of the church," he said.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021