Updated: May 03, 2021 09:37 AM GMT
Protesters take part in a demonstration against Myanmar's military coup on 'Global Myanmar Spring Revolution Day' in Dawei on May 2. (Photo: Dawei Watch/AFP)
Pope Francis has asked the faithful to say a special prayer for military-ruled Myanmar during the Marian month of May with the intention of achieving peace and reconciliation.
After the recitation of the Regina Coeli prayer on May 2, the pope said that within this context there is an initiative that is particularly close to his heart: that of the Myanmar Church that invites us to pray for peace in the country, according to a Vatican News report.
“During this month we ask our Heavenly Mother to speak to the hearts of all those who have responsibility in Myanmar so they may find the courage to walk the path of encounter, of reconciliation and of peace,” the pope stressed.
“Each of us turns to our mother in times of need and of difficulty.”
The pope has publicly spoken several times about the crisis in Myanmar, which he regards with much affection after visiting the country in 2017.
He has also called for military leaders to stop the violence and pursue dialogue toward peace in the conflict-torn nation.
The UN Security Council demanded the restoration of democracy in Myanmar and the release of all detainees
Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon has encouraged priests and the faithful to take part in a Marian devotion initiative by saying the rosary and adoration throughout May with the intention of peace, justice and human dignity.
The pope’s plea came on a day when Myanmar security forces’ crackdown on anti-coup protesters led to at least eight people being killed and several wounded.
Thousands of people joined protests across Myanmar and around the world in what organizers called “Global Myanmar Spring Revolution Day.”
Buddhist monks also joined students in protests in Mandalay while hundreds of youths held flash strikes in commercial hub Yangon on May 2.
Thousands of people from Myanmar communities abroad in countries such as the US and Australia also marched in the streets to show their defiance to military rule.
Several bombs went off in Yangon on May 2 but there were no reported casualties.
On April 30, the UN Security Council demanded the restoration of democracy in Myanmar and the release of all detainees including civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
It also backed calls by Southeast Asian nations for an immediate cessation of violence and talks as a step toward a solution.
The Security Council reiterated “its strong support for ASEAN’s positive and constructive role in facilitating a peaceful solution in support of the people of Myanmar and commended ASEAN’s continued efforts to engage with all relevant parties in Myanmar.”
At least 765 people have been killed and more than 3,550 detained since the Feb. 1 coup, according to a rights group which monitors arrests and casualties.