Myanmar: Myanmar Catholic Bishops launch interreligious prayer effort amid Covid Surge
The Catholic Bishops Conference of Myanmar on Monday (August 2) launched a national prayer campaign as coronavirus cases in the country continue to surge.
“ I call upon all people to enter into a campaign of prayer, raising our hands and hearts to the Almighty, for healing. Let us come together as one community, let compassion become the common religion in these dark days. Transcending our various religious and faith identities, let us come together for inter religious prayer meetings on line. Let us support one another through continuous prayer,” read an Aug. 2 message to the people of Burma signed by Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon, president of the Burmese bishops’ conference.
Cardinal Charles Bo, Archbishop of Yangon
The message said the country needs “to get ready to face (the) extraordinary challenge” of the new wave of COVID-19 infections.
Infections in Burma, also known as Myanmar, have surged since June, with about 6,000 cases and 300 deaths reported daily in the past weeks, according to the health ministry.
Medics and funeral services put the toll much higher.
“These are very threatening times for the dignity and survival of our people,” read the bishops’ statement.
“Once again, we plead, unity is needed. No conflict, no displacement. The only war we need to wage is against the virus,” it added.
Britain’s UN ambassador warned last week that half of Burma’s 54 million people could be infected with COVID-19 in the next two weeks.
Burma has been in chaos since the military ousted an elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi in February, with protests and fighting between the army and newly formed militias.
The United States, Great Britain, and others have imposed sanctions on the military rulers over the coup and repression of pro-democracy protests in which hundreds have been killed.
“The coup has resulted in a near total collapse of the healthcare system, and health care workers are being attacked and arrested,” said British UN Ambassador Barbara Woodward.
“The virus is spreading through the population, very fast indeed. By some estimates, in the next two weeks, half of the population of Myanmar could be infected with COVID,” she said.
In his statement, Cardinal Bo urged the people to support each other and to help all health workers “reach out to the suffering people.” He urged everyone to “raise our hands and hearts to the Almighty, for healing.”
“Let us support one another through continuous prayer,” read the cardinal’s statement. “I urge the Catholic Church to have continuous prayers, adorations, Rosary chains in the families and communities,” he added.
“Let us knock at the divine doors, to melt the hearts of all people, to bring healing, peace and reconciliation,” said Cardinal Bo.
“Our people’s destiny is more and more in the hands of God as we sail through these stormy seas of fear, despair, anxiety and pandemic,” he said.
“Let the divine hand reach out and bless our country and protect our people from the pandemic and all other calamities,” added the cardinal.
“Our problems press us like mountains. But let us use faith. Let us become prayer warriors; heal ourselves. Let God’s healing hand touch everyone and bring health to all our people,” said Cardinal Bo.
Credit to: CNA by Josee Torres Jr.
Myanmar Catholic Bishops, between violence and social crisis: “ It is urgent to open humanitarian corridors and respect sacred places”
By Joseph Kung Za Hmung
Yangon, (GNJ) – The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Myanmar (CBCM) released a statement of her appeal on 11 June 2021 on political and social crisis in Myanmar. The statement was signed by all (15) numbers of Catholic Bishops of Myanmar.
Myanmar Catholic Bishops, Photo taken on 10 June 2021 in Yangon
Faced with this emergency, the Bishops of Myanmar intervened who, at the conclusion of their plenary assembly, held in Yangon from 8 to 11 June, launched a heartfelt appeal in a Message, signed by the 13 Catholic Prelates, which reads: “ While our Country is going through difficult times, this appeal is being launched for humanitarian reasons. We are not politicians, we are leaders of faith, and we are accompanying our people on their journey towards human dignity” .
The text of the Bishops, posted in her Facebook Account, is formulated in four points: first of all, the Bishops, deeply concerned about the difficulty in reaching refugees, ask “ humanitarian corridors in conflict zones” not to be blocked. “ Thousands of people, especially the elderly and children, are dying of hunger in the jungles. Starving innocent people is the most heartbreaking experience. We implore that a humanitarian corridor is allowed to reach the hungry masses wherever they are. They are our citizens and have the fundamental right to food and security” , they write.
မင်းတပ်မြို့က စစ်ဘေးရှောင်ကလေးငယ်တွေကို တွေ့ရစဉ်
The second point calls for respect for churches and monasteries, Christians and Buddhists and places of worship, where thousands of displaced people have taken refuge, fleeing from their homes in search of a safe place. The text recalls that four churches in the diocese of Loikaw were attacked and thousands of people fled to the forests and asks to “ observe the international standards that protect sacred places in times of war” : “ Churches, pagodas, monasteries, mosques, temples, including schools and hospitals are recognized as neutral places of refuge during a conflict. We appeal that these places are not attacked and that people seeking refuge are protected” .
စစ်ကောင်စီတပ်ရဲ့ လက်နက်ကြီးကြောင့် ပျက်စီးသွားတဲ့ ဒေါငံခါးဘုရားကျောင်းကို ၂၀၂၁ ဇွန်လ ၆ ရက်နေ့က တွေ့ရစဉ်
In the third point, the Bishops of Myanmar ask all the dioceses and Catholic communities of the country to continue to pray for peace, celebrate holy masses, meditate during the Eucharistic Adoration, or recite the Rosary in order to place the nation under the protection of the Virgin Mary.
The text concludes, in the fourth point, by imploring all those involved at the local and international level to “ work for a lasting peace” : “ In the last seven decades – we read – this country has been in conflict. Now only tears and pain of innocent people remain. As a nation we must invest in peace. This country deserves to become part of the community of nations, consigning its past to history and investing in peace. Human dignity is given by God and no amount of violence can deny this aspiration to human dignity. Peace is still possible. Peace is the path” .