Protestants and Catholics today launched their annual annual 40-day “global” prayer vigil for the future of Nepal. Catholic groups, including members of the Couples for Christ and Charismatic prayer group of the Assumption Church are also joining in the nationwide prayer effort. Chief coordinator Pastor Pastor Bhab Ghale said the event, which began in 2003, will have various themes and locations for prayers will include a coffee shop, river rafts and a number of churches. Participants will also climb hills and ride motorcycles and there will be special events for children. The 40-day event is timed to finish at Pentecost. A motorcycle rally during the event is expected to involve around 100 vehicles. Pastor Bishnu Khanal, in charge of the rally, said he hoped this year's event would go further than last year's, which was only around 125km, “but the rally really raised public awareness and as it was a call for prayer, every local community encouraged us.” The prayer effort for the country comes as frustration builds nationwide at the expected expiry on May 28 of an extended deadline to write a new constitution. Earlier, a group of Christians in central Kathmandu demanding burial land gave up a relay hunger strike after 40 days. Protest leader Pastor Sunder Thapa said it was called off “as we got written assurance from the government that they would look into the matter.” Not all Christians had supported the protest; some in the capital had expressed the opinion that the protesters should opt for cremation instead of insisting on burial rights and a Catholic priest, speaking on condition of anonymity, told ucanews.com: “Why make it a issue in a small country where so many poor people do not even have a piece of land to live on.” NP14084
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