Philippine Catholic bishops invited the faithful to join the inter-religious day of prayer and fasting for an end to the coronavirus crisis.
The bishops’ conference made the appeal for the May 14 day of prayer, answering Pope Francis’ call for all religious leaders to pray during the pandemic.
“(We) invite all men and women ‘believers in God, the All-Creator’, to join in the said appeal,” said Father Marvin Mejia, secretary general of the bishops’ collegial body.
The initial proposal for the day of prayer came from the High Committee for the Human Fraternity, which was formed after the pope and the grand imam of al-Azhar signed a document on “human fraternity” in 2019.
Sheik Ahmad el-Tayeb also supported “the noble humanitarian call” made by the committee.
In the Manila archdiocese, Bishop Broderick Pabillo also called on Catholics to mark the day of the prayer with acts of charity.
“I invite everyone to extend material help to at least one person within your reach, no matter the amount, to make that person feel the care we have for each other,” he said.
The Catholic Church in the Philippines is observing 2020 as the Year of Ecumenism, Interreligious Dialogue and Indigenous Peoples.
The celebration is also part of a nine-year preparation by the Church for the fifth centenary of the coming of Christianity in the country in 2021.
“This is a very concrete sign of common activity of all religions since prayer, fasting, and acts of love are common to all, and we are all affected by this pandemic,” Pabillo said.