YANGON, Myanmar (CNS) – Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon encouraged Catholics to recite the rosary and participate in Eucharistic worship for peace and justice in Myanmar ruled by the military.
Ucanews.com reported that the cardinal had requested prayers throughout the month of May. He emphasized the intention to seek God’s blessing for peace in the first week, justice in the second week, unity in the third week, and respect for human dignity in the fourth.
The announcement signed by Cardinal Bo indicated that the faithful can participate at home, in parishes or in religious communities, as they see fit.
“There is no true peace without fairness, truth, justice and solidarity,” the cardinal said in the letter, citing the words of Saint John Paul II.
Cardinal Bo’s call to prayer comes as Myanmar is embroiled in political turmoil under the harsh military regime, which seized power and toppled the elected civilian government on February 1. Myanmar had been ruled by the military for over 50 years before Aung San’s elected government of Suu Kyi took office in April 2016.
The Southeast Asian nation has seen daily protests against military rule from urban areas to remote villages in ethnic areas.
Myanmar’s crisis has caught the attention of world leaders, including Pope Francis, who has repeatedly expressed solidarity with the people of Myanmar and urged military leaders to turn to dialogue to pursue peace.
Catholics, who are a minority in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar, have played an active role in praying for a peaceful solution, participating in pro-democracy protests, and providing material and moral support to the needy and the families of the protesters. deceased.
The military continues its intense crackdown on anti-coup protesters and passers-by with lethal force, arbitrary arrests and torture.
At least 759 people have been killed and nearly 3,500 have been detained since the February 1 coup, according to a rights group.
Ucanews.com reported that the military was also fighting armed ethnic groups in Karen and Kachin states – two largely Christian regions – using airstrikes, heavy artillery and ground attacks that resulted in displacement. thousands of people.
The air strike in Karen on April 28 forced more than 300 people to flee their villages and cross Thailand, aid groups say.