Religious volunteers share their experiences of looking after coronavirus patients
Religious representatives pray at the interfaith gathering in Ho Chi Minh City on Oct. 27. (Photo courtesy of tgpsaigon.net)
Representatives of various religious faiths gathered in Ho Chi Minh City to share their experiences of working together to support Covid-19 victims during the pandemic.
Some 60 dignitaries and scholars from Baha'i, Buddhism, Catholicism, Islam and the indigenous faiths of Cao Dai, Hoa Hao and Minh Ly attended the interfaith gathering at the Pastoral Center in the southern city on Oct. 27.
The event titled “Synergy to save people” was organized by the ministry of interfaith dialogue committee of Ho Chi Minh City Archdiocese.
Archbishop Joseph Nguyen Nang of the archdiocese said the coronavirus pandemic has caused agonizing pain to people, leaving millions in misery and grief over the losses of their beloved ones in the past six months.
Archbishop Nang said those dark painful days were brightened up by the sublime beauty of local people, especially followers of religions, who are motivated by compassion to actively support one another to overcome the pandemic and boost hope.
"Followers enthusiastically looked for and offered food, money and medicine to victims at their homes and people in isolated places," he said, adding that Nguyen Manh Cuong, a Buddhist, is enormously admired for bravely providing free vegetarian meals for people in need.
The synergy among religions leaves the local community and government with a good impression
The prelate said some 700 Buddhist, Catholic and Christian volunteers took tender care of Covid-19 patients at eight local hospitals. Buddhist monks and nuns work with priests and sisters, live in harmony and love, and cooperate with medical workers to serve patients.
"The synergy among religions leaves the local community and government with a good impression," he said.
Noting the synergy among religions provides a source of strength to save people from physical and emotional suffering, he said the pandemic is an opportunity for religions to show their synergy and solidarity and they will continue doing that in perpetuity.
He said religions working together to save people from suffering is not only from compassion but from being aware of the great dignity that God gives each person.
Archbishop Nang said followers of faiths have dialogue with one another not to show good behavior, amiability and tolerance but to develop friendship, peace and harmony in order to share spiritual and moral values and experiences in the spirit of loving and respecting the truth.
He said believing in God is the ultimate faith for the fraternity so "we will journey with the world, raise the world's hope, and become obvious signs of unity to build bridges, destroy walls and sow seeds of reconciliation."
"The pandemic is an exercise for religions about making joint efforts to save people, holding dialogue and cooperating with one another in building a new world of peace and love where all people are respected and their life, dignity and basic rights are protected," he said in his opening speech.
During the gathering, which was held for the first time in 2011, participants prayed for those who died of Covid-19, government and religious leaders, medical workers, volunteers, orphans, widows, and those who are stricken by the contagion. They also recalled how they provided material and spiritual support for victims.
Emeritus Bishop Joseph Dinh Duc Dao of Xuan Loc, a member of the Rome-based Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, said in his video to the gathering that humanity and divine grace are two streams that gather and encourage all people with goodwill to serve victims, relieve the pain of others and make the society better.
Finally, participants also sang the Peace Prayer for Vietnam and the world to overcome the hard times.
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