Myanmar Catholics urged to take part in a Marian devotion for peace in Myanmar

Myanmar Catholics have been urged to take part in a Marian devotion throughout the month of May by saying the rosary and adoration with the intention of achieving peace and justice in military-ruled Myanmar.

Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon has encouraged priests and the faithful to carry out the program together throughout the month of May.

He outlined the intention of seeking God’s blessing for peace for the first week, justice for the second week, unity in the third week, and respect for human dignity in the fourth.

The announcement signed by Cardinal Bo said the faithful may participate at home, in parishes or at religious communities according to their convenience.

It also urged priests to announce the purpose of the devotion before daily Mass, conduct daily Eucharistic adoration from 2.30-3.30pm and daily rosary from 7-8pm.

“There is no true peace without fairness, truth, justice and solidarity,” the prelate said in the letter, quoting the words of Pope St. John Paul II.

Cardinal Bo’s plea for prayers comes as Myanmar has been plunged into political turmoil under the harsh rule of the military who seized power and toppled the elected civilian government on Feb. 1.

The Southeast Asian nation has seen daily protests against military rule from urban areas to remote villages in ethnic areas.

Myanmar’s crisis has gained much attention from world leaders including Pope Francis, who has repeatedly expressed his solidarity with the people of Myanmar and urged the military leaders to turn to dialogue to pursue peace.

Catholics, who are a minority in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, have played an active role in praying for a peaceful solution, participating in pro-democracy protests and supplying material and moral support to the needy and the families of deceased protesters.

The Church has made a profound impression on the world through the inspiring example of Sister Ann Rosa Nu Tawng, a nun from Kachin state who pleaded with security forces not to harm unarmed protesters.

The military is continuing its intense crackdown on anti-coup protesters and bystanders with lethal force, arbitrary arrests and torture.

At least 759 people have been killed and nearly 3,500 people detained since the Feb. 1 coup, according to a rights group.

The military has also been battling ethnic armed groups in Karen and Kachin states — both largely Christian regions — using airstrikes, heavy artillery and ground attacks that have led to thousands of people being displaced.

The airstrike in Karen state on April 28 forced more than 300 people to flee their villages and cross into Thailand, according to aid groups.

Myanmar had been ruled by the military for more than 50 years before Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government took office in April 2016.

The brief experiment with democracy abruptly ended following the coup and it is poised to become an impoverished nation again.

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