In February of 1951, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen (national director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith from 1950 to 1966), in a radio address (The Catholic Hour), inaugurated that World Mission Rosary. He saw the need for us to pray not just for ourselves, but for the whole world, and especially for those who are poor and vulnerable at home and around the world.
Each decade of that World Mission Rosary calls to mind an area where the Church continues her evangelizing mission: green for the forests and grasslands of Africa; blue for the ocean surrounding the islands of the Pacific; white symbolizing Europe, the seat of the Holy Father, shepherd of the world; red calling to mind the fire of faith that brought missionaries to the Americas and yellow, the morning light of the East, for Asia. Archbishop Sheen himself linked this Rosary to the missionary work of the Church and to the Holy Father. Praying this Rosary, he explained in that radio broadcast, would "aid the Holy Father and his Society for the Propagation of the Faith by supplying him with practical support, as well as prayers, for the poor mission territories of the world." "When the Rosary is completed, one has...embraced all continents, all people in prayer," he added. "Won't you please make a tour of the world on your World Mission Rosary?"