Updated: August 03, 2021 07:08 AM GMT
People wearing face masks wait in a queue to buy foodstuffs in Yangon on Aug. 1. (Photo: AFP)
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Myanmar (CBCM) has urged people in the country to join a campaign of prayer to overcome the contagion.
“Through this appeal, 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,” the bishops said in a letter released on Aug. 2.
CBCM president Cardinal Charles Bo and general secretary Bishop John Saw Yaw Han signed the letter.
“Transcending our various religious and faith identities, let us come together for interreligious prayer meetings online. Let us support one another through continuous prayer.”
Faith leaders also urged the Church to hold continuous prayers, adorations and rosary chains in families and communities.
“Let us knock on the divine doors to melt the hearts of all people, to bring healing, peace and reconciliation,” they said.
Once again, we plead, unity is needed. No conflict, no displacement. The only war we need to wage is against the virus
Their appeal comes as the Southeast Asian nation is facing a worsening Covid-19 crisis followed by a political and economic crisis brought about by the military coup on Feb. 1.
Myanmar’s health system has virtually collapsed since the coup. Hospitals are barely functioning and lack staff as many doctors and nurses have joined the mass civil disobedience movement.
The UK warned the UN Security Council last week that half of Myanmar’s population of 54 million could become infected with Covid-19 within the next two weeks.
The junta-controlled Health Ministry recorded 330 deaths and 3,689 new cases on Aug. 3, taking total numbers to 306,354 infections and 10,061 deaths, but medics and charitable groups say the actual number of fatalities is higher.
The bishops lamented the threat to the dignity and survival of people amid rising infections and deaths and the dire lack of oxygen as the Delta variant sweeps Myanmar and other countries.
“Once again, we plead, unity is needed. No conflict, no displacement. The only war we need to wage is against the virus,” the prelates said.
“Facing this emergency, let us arm ourselves only with medical kits, oxygen and other support for our dear people.”
The bishops called for a campaign of prayers starting now and to continue for at least for two weeks.
“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. Let the divine hand reach out and bless our country and protect our people from the pandemic and all other calamities,” they said.