Indian dioceses pray with pope, as well as Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims (videos)
by Nirmala Carvalho

Prayers are held in Arunachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, and Maharashtra. In addition to prayers, acts of charity were performed for the marginalised and the homeless.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Many Indian dioceses heeded the call by Pope Francis and the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity and held a World Day of prayer, fasting and works of charity in order to speed up the end of the coronavirus pandemic.

In Arunachal Pradesh, Bishop George Palliparambil of Miao organised an interfaith prayer with members and leaders of the Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and Protestant communities in Miao, Changlang (pictures 2, 3 and 4).

Narindra Bhikku, head monk of the Buddhist monastery in Miao, stressed that "we are fighting an invisible enemy and prayer is the only weapon we have to fight it.”

Pandit Ravishankar Pandey of the Shiv Mandir Hindu temple in Miao expressed the same sentiment, adding: "God is very pleased with us today, seeing us gathered as brothers and sisters.”

Stephen Yobin, of the Church of Christ, said that the shared moment was a special time given to us to stop and look into our way of life before God, asking for his mercy.

Chomtang Chamtang of the Baptist Church also prayed at the meeting. Fathers David and John Doley, who represented the Catholic Church, read a prayer written by Pope Francis and sang a psalm of deliverance.

At the end of the meeting, Bishop Palliparambil thanked all those present and recited a prayer of deliverance from the coronavirus. A procession with candles followed with each religious leader praying unprompted.

An interfaith prayer meeting was also held in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. Archbishop Leo Cornelius invited Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs to gather at home to offer prayers to God and implore his mercy and blessings.

The theme of the meeting was ‘let us come together, let us speak together, let our hearts be of one accord to abolish COVID-19’, with readings taken from scriptures like the Hindu Atharva Veda (12:1), the Sikh Adi Granth (Shalok, Farid p. 1382), the Buddhist Dhammapada (293-05), the Qurʼān (2:153-57), the Jain Acharanga Sutra (3:13) , and the Gospel of John (9:1-7).

Each reading was followed a moment of silence. At the end, a prayer was offered for the homeless, caretakers, government officials, coronavirus victims, the whole country, with a pledge to work together to abolish COVID-19.

In Delhi, Dr A K Merchant, of the Baha'i community, said that their prayer meeting was held in harmony with the Sisters of the Focolare movement. In Poona (Maharashtra), Bishop Thomas Dabre organised a moment of prayer that was streamed live followed by members of other religions across India.

The day also included a call to perform charity works. For this reason, Bishop Alwyn Barreto of Sindhudurg (Maharashtra) spent the day praying, fasting and visiting the sick in hospital.

Yesterday, in front of a Hindu temple, the prelate, with some volunteers from his diocese, handed out food parcels and other aid to marginalised people, members of tribal groups and the poor (picture 1) "without any discrimination" of religion or caste (see video).

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