Indian bishops’ president calls for joint prayers for the nation on October 16

Card Baselios Cleemis invites all dioceses to organise liturgies and prayers. The month of October is full of religious celebrations. Meanwhile, India is facing "extraordinary challenges, especially on its borders."

New Delhi (AsiaNews) – At a time when the country is facing "extraordinary challenges," Card Baselios Cleemis, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), has called for a day of prayer for India, to be celebrated on 16 October.

The cardinal ha released a letter calling on the country’s bishops, priests, religious and lay people to join in prayer "for our beloved country, for justice and peace, prosperity and welfare, harmony and unity."

His reference to "extraordinary challenges, especially on its borders" could be linked to the dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, which has recently claimed more than 90 victims and threatens to turn into open fighting.

On behalf of the CBCI, "I invite all our countrymen and women of good will to join us in praying for the country. May every place of worship chime with prayers for our beloved nation,” Card Cleemis writes. With this in mind, he called for special liturgies and prayers in every diocese.

The month of October, said the CBCI president, is a time full of festivities in every religious community.

Last Sunday, everyone celebrated the anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi. Yesterday, Catholics celebrated the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi, "a messenger of peace and ecological harmony".

On 11 October, "our Hindu brethren celebrate Dusserah or Vijaya Dashami, that is the victory of good over evil." The next day is Muharram, the first month in the Islamic calendar, “a day of special significance to the faith of our Muslim brethren".

On 20 October, "our Sikh brethren remember the birth of Guru Granth", whilst “Deepavali, the festival of lights will illuminate our skies on 30 October, reminding us of the victory of light over darkness.”