Pope renews call for day of prayer for end to pandemic

Source: Vatican News/ICN

Pope Francis renewed his invitation for people of all faiths to unite in prayer, fasting, and works of charity on Thursday for an end to the Covid-19 pandemic. At the weekly General Audience, Pope Francis appealed for the Day of Prayer on 14 May launched by the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity.

"Prayer is a means to communicate with and listen to God. In this spirit, I have welcomed the invitation of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity to dedicate tomorrow, 14 May, to prayer, fasting, and works of charity. I invite and encourage everyone to join in this event. May we unite as brothers and sisters in asking the Lord to save humanity from the pandemic, to enlighten scientists, and to heal the sick. May the Lord bless each one of you, and always protect you from every evil."

The Pope had already expressed his support for the initiative at the Regina Coeli address on 3 May. Pope Francis said "since prayer is a universal value, I have accepted the proposal of the Higher Committee for Human Fraternity for believers of all religions to unite spiritually this 14 May for a day of prayer, fasting, and works of charity, to implore God to help humanity overcome the coronavirus pandemic. Remember: 14 May, all believers together, believers of different traditions, to pray, fast, and perform works of charity.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has announced his participation in the day and called on everyone from all religions to seek help from God and praying for an end the pandemic, using the hashtag launched by the Committee to participate in this event, #prayForHumanity.

Bishop Patrick McKinney has called on Catholics in England & Wales to prayer on 14 May, in solidarity with all people of faith for an end to the coronavirus pandemic. Bishop McKinney is the Bishops' Conference lead bishop for dialogue with other faiths.

The call for a day of prayer came from the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity which was established last year during Pope Francis' Apostolic Visit to the United Arab Emirates. Pope Francis said on 3 May that as prayer is a universal value, he backed the proposal from the Committee. He called on all to implore God to help humanity overcome the pandemic.

Bishop McKinney said: "I warmly welcome the support of Pope Francis for the world-wide invitation to believers of all religions to unite spiritually on 14 May for a day of prayer, fasting and acts of charity.

"Please join me in prayer, in a little fasting, and in an act of charity tomorrow, 14 May, as we pray in solidarity with people of faith all over the world for an end to the coronavirus pandemic."

The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity was established as a response to the document on Human Fraternity signed by Pope Francis and Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in February, 2019. As part of its mission the Committee meets with religious and other world leaders in order "to support and spread the values of mutual respect and peaceful co-existence."

The committee said: "we should not forget to seek refuge in God as we face such a severe crisis"...asking God "to inspire scientists to find a cure that can turn back this disease, and to save the whole world from the health, economic and human repercussions of this serious pandemic."

Prayer events will be taking place around the world.

In New York, GreenFaith are hosting prayers online at 11am and 4pm. Fr Joshtrom Isaac Kureethadam SDB, coordinator of the Sector on Ecology and Creation at the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and a professor of philosophy at the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome will be leading the prayers. To register see: https://bit.ly/FaithCommunityCall514

In the Lebanon, Christians and Muslims have invited everyone in their country to join the day of prayer. Both faiths in Lebanon already share celebrations of their common devotion to Our Lady on the feast of the Annunciation.

Naji el Khoury, Secretary General of the 'Islamic-Christian meeting around Mary', said that at 4pm, members of the association will meet in a hall of the Heritage Village, on the way to Beirut airport, taking all the necessary Covid-19 precautions - face masks, gloves, social distancing - and they will create an Islamic-Christian celebration to ask - each according to his faith - that God relieves everyone from the pandemic contagion that is threatening the lives of billions of people.

The participants in the meeting, that will be broadcast by several television networks, will fast from dawn.

The program of the afternoon celebration includes two speeches by Archbishop Joseph Spiteri, Apostolic Nuncio in Lebanon, and Shiite Sheikh Sayyed Ali Fadlallah, son of the great Ayatollah Sayyed Muhammad Fadlallah (a prominent figure of Lebanese Shi'ism, who died in 2010) and head of the Mabarrat Foundation. After the speeches of the Nuncio and the Sheikh, 15 members of the Association, Christians and Muslims, men and women, will recite short prayers, with pauses of silence and recollection between one supplication and another. At the end of the meeting, all the participants will read together a supplication to the Almighty God.

Pujya Brahmavihari Swami, Leader of the Hindu Community and Head of BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi, expressed his pride of joining the prayer call, describing it as an inspirational initiative to get humanity at large united in the face of the COVID-19 onslaught.

Myanmar Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon, President of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC), said: I join in the appeal of religious leaders to believers in God worldwide, to set aside 'a day for fasting, prayers and supplications'.

See also: People of all faiths to pray for end to virus on 14 May www.indcatholicnews.com/news/39564

Tags: Coronavirus, Covid-19, Pope Francis, 14 May, Day of Prayer Against the Pandemic

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