Interreligious prayer initiative on May 14 for end to Covid-19

Pope Francis gives his blessing from the window of the library in the Apostolic Palace on May 3, after a live transmission of the Regina Coeli. Photo: CNS/Vatican Media
Pope Francis gives his blessing from the window of the library in the Apostolic Palace on May 3, after a live transmission of the Regina Coeli. Photo: CNS/Vatican Media

VATICAN (CNS): The interreligious Prayer for Humanity for an end to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, which is set to take place on May 14, will be an opportunity for all believers “to pray, fast and do works of charity,” Pope Francis said after reciting the Regina Coeli prayer on May 3.

Expressing his hopes for a vaccine against the Covid-19 coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) the pope said, “prayer is a universal value” as he lent his support to the call by the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity for the interreligious day of prayer and fasting.

Expressing his closeness to the victims of Covid-19, as well as those entrusted with their care, the pope also encouraged cooperation between countries to “adequately and effectively” respond to the crisis.

“It is important to bring together scientific capacities, in a transparent and impartial way, to find vaccines and treatments and to guarantee universal access to essential technologies that will enable every infected person, in every part of the world, to receive the necessary health care,” Pope Francis said.

Sheikh Ahmad el-Tayeb, the grand imam of al-Azhar, also expressed his support for “the noble humanitarian call made by the committee.” In a statement posted on Facebook, el-Tayeb urged people to join in prayer “in order to eliminate this pandemic from the entire world,” Emirates News Agency reported on May 3.

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The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity was established after Pope Francis and el-Tayeb signed a document in 2019 on promoting dialogue and “human fraternity.”

The committee said that while medicine and scientific research are key in fighting the pandemic, “we should not forget to seek refuge in God, the All-Creator, as we face such (a) severe crisis.”

In a tweet on May 3, United Nations secretary general, Antonio Guterres, said that “in difficult times, we must stand together for peace, humanity and solidarity.”

Guterres tweeted, “I join his Holiness Pope Francis and the grand imam of al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmad el-Tayeb, in their support for the Prayer for Humanity this May 14—a moment for reflection, hope, and faith.” 

In a statement on May 2, the committee said, “Each one from wherever they are and according to the teachings of their religion, faith, or sect, should implore God to lift this pandemic off us and the entire world, to rescue us all from this adversity, to inspire scientists to find a cure that can turn back this disease and to save the whole world from the health, economic and human repercussions of this serious pandemic.”

Calling on all religious leaders and people around the world to take part, the committee said, “our world will become a better place for humanity and fraternity than ever before.”

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