Bangalore, 14 May, 2020: In response to the call of Pope Francis, that all believers around the world to join through prayer, fasting or by performing acts of charity on Thursday, 14 May, 2020 - to pray for an end to the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, the Indian Catholic Church Leaders along with leaders from other religions prayed together at 3pm via Zoom video Conference. The CBCI office for Dialogue and Desk for Ecumenism organized the inter-religious prayer to raise the cry of the entire humanity to Almighty God.
His Eminence Oswald Cardinal Gracias, the President of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) introduced and opened the prayer service surrendering to God the pleas of people of all nations, religions and traditions to save the entire human race.
His Grace Sumithra Krishna das, the President of the ISKCON Chennai Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple prayed, “Though from different places, we have one goal and interceded to the Almighty for the safety of familiesOur devotion to God can never be hindered as religion and spirituality have always played a great role. Once we have slowed down the nature began to regenerate and has given us the promise to be better human beings”. He also offered prayers to doctors and nurses to protect those who are in need.
His Excellency Most Rev. Dr. Joshua Mar Ignathios, Vice President of CBCI led the participants in a meaningful reflection of 6 spiritual strategies: 1.Prayer: God is listening to us and he is close to us just like how we are close to each other; 2. Stay connected: Stay in relationships with others; 3.Reach out to those in need: Social distancing does not mean the end of service; 4. Be Grateful: Gratitude give us perspective 5. Engagement in meaningful work 6. Love: Love is contagious. Love is in deeds not only words, Love it was that made us, love it was that saved us and we must love one another.
Most Rev. Dr. Peter Machado, Archbishop of Bangalore prayed with the following words: “ Our hope is in you lord all day long. We won’t be shaken by troubles or storms. We believe that you are at work in our lives. We trust in your love for us. We are surrounded by darkness today. We are burdened financially, physically, emotionally. We are lonely and isolated from our families.
We are worried about our jobs and careers and anxious about our futures. The only light that we see in this darkness is our hope in your promises.”
In his prayer, Archbishop Felix Machado of Vasai Archdiocese said, “prayer enlarges our hearts as the whole world is in misery, fear and worry. We need to abstain from all that displeases to God. If we can defocus ourselves and come out of our selfishness wherein it is in these situations we need to show our faithfulness to God.”
The other Church leaders who were present and joined in the prayer service were George Cardinal Alencherry of Syro Malabar Church, Baselios Cardinal Cleemis of Syro-Malankara Church, Bishop Raphy Manjaly of Allahabad and Kuriakose Mar Theophilose, spokesperson of the Jacobite Church. Imam Maulana Mirza Yawar Baig from Hyderabad was expected to join but due to technical difficulties was not present.
-Rev. Fr. Cyril Victor Joseph
Director, Archdiocesan Communications Center