A motorcyclist and child wearing face masks enter the China-Myanmar border checkpoint at Muse, Shan State. (Photo: AFP)
Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon, president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, has appealed to bishops in Asia to entrust all victims of the coronavirus and people across the globe to Our Lady of Lourdes.
The Church celebrates the feast of the Lady of Health-Our Lady of Lourdes on Feb. 11.
“At this critical juncture, I would like to be close to and pray for my brothers and sisters who are sick because of this virus that has spread through China and the world over,” Cardinal Bo said in an appeal letter on Feb. 8.
“May the Lord welcome the dead into his peace, comfort families and sustain the great commitment by the Chinese government that has already been put in place to combat the epidemic.”
He said the faithful should pray that Our Blessed Mother intervenes to control and help prevent a global epidemic of the novel coronavirus.
“We shall fervently ask for her maternal protection to stop the rapid spread of this deadly virus and give hope and courage and lay her miraculous healing hands upon them.”
The 72-year-old cardinal added: “May Mother Mary, who stood by the cross of her dying son Jesus, be the pillar of strength and beacon of hope to the health workers who risk their lives to save the lives of their sick brothers and sisters.”
The coronavirus outbreak has been categorized as a global health emergency by the World Health Organization, with cases confirmed in 28 countries including Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Cambodia, Thailand, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
The death toll from the novel coronavirus surged to over 900 in China on Feb. 10, surpassing global fatalities in the 2002-03 SARS epidemic.
A total of 40,540 cases and 910 deaths have been confirmed. The only deaths outside mainland China have been in Hong Kong and the Philippines.