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Archbishop of Bombay calls for a Day of Prayer and fasting

Wednesday, May 13, 2020, 21:05 (IST)

Archbishop of Bombay and the President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), Cardinal Oswald Gracias wrote to his fellow bishops and other religious representatives of the country inviting them to take part in the 14 May initiative of a Day of Prayer, fasting and works of charity.

The Christian leader wrote in his letter that "all of us are children of God, brothers and sisters of one big family" are called to "come together and pray for God to spare us from the pandemic as our only hope is that God Almighty will save us, and help scientists and researchers find the eagerly-awaited cure."

CBCI secretary general, Archbishop Felix Machado of Vasai told AsiaNews that during the current global pandemic, everyone must come together and pray.

"I believe in the power of prayer," the Christian leader said. "Pray, pray, pray during the current emergency; each one of us must pray. I would even call on non-believers to pray in his/her own way. The 14 May initiative confirms the Church's irrevocable commitment to interfaith dialogue, harmony, solidarity and peace in the world."

For the President of the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Ram Puniyani, "The call for a World Day of Prayer can be an occasion to commit ourselves to rational thinking in eradicating the pandemic."

"We are one as humanity and need to act in unison and in a rational, scientific spirit to protect our society from this dangerous pandemic," Puniyani told AsiaNews.

Furthermore, he explained that the pandemic provides "an opportunity to come together as a single humanity, holding hands, [standing] shoulder to shoulder to commit ourselves to the welfare of each other. This can be the occasion to remind ourselves that we as the human race survive only by being part of a global community, cutting across the boundaries of nations, races and religions."

Dr AK Merchant, general secretary of the Temple of Understanding India Foundation, Lotus Temple and Baha'i Community of India told AsiaNews that "We join our Christian brothers and sisters in prayer, led by His Holiness Pope Francis on World Prayer Day."

"Whatever the tribulations that a conflicted world must confront in the weeks and months ahead, as a believer, I wish to join others like me, in offering prayers to the Almighty for the safety and good health of all who are battling the global pandemic."

"May the promise of reunion in the eternal realms offer solace to those who have lost their loved ones." Meanwhile, "The most important thing is, of course, to have recourse to the power of prayer and meditation, which must go hand in hand with the best of what medical sciences may offer in tandem with the selfless services of trained doctors and health workers," Dr Merchant added.