The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India has declared July 2 as a “Sunday for Peace and Prayer” in solidarity with the suffering people in Manipur.
Archbishop Andrews Thazhath of Trichur, president of the bishops’ conference, urged parishes, religious institutions, and Catholic communities to observe the day of prayer “meaningfully”.
In a statement, the bishops urged parishes to include “special intentions for peace and harmony” to the Prayers of the Faithful and “arrange in each parish an Hour of Adoration before the Eucharistic Lord, to intercede for the suffering people of Manipur”.
“Promote a gesture of solidarity, like a candlelight procession or a peace rally, which would bring our people to commune in spirit with our suffering brethren… to deepen their awareness about the serious situation,” the statement read.
Archbishop Thazhath urged the faithful to “encourage associations, movements, and NGOs to convey” their concern about the alarming situation in the state.
The prelate also said encouraged Catholics to express “concern and goodwill towards the migrant people” and “generously accommodate the students and the people in our hostels and educational institutions”.
The ethnic conflict between the predominantly Hindu Meitei community and tribal Christians, in the northeastern Indian state, has resulted in the loss of at least 100 lives and extensive damage to hundreds of properties.
Moreover, 142 villages, over 400 churches, and 83 church institutions have been set ablaze. More than 40,000 individuals from different communities are displaced in 272 relief camps across 13 districts of Manipur.
The bishops said the Catholic Church, through its social action arm – Caritas India – has been responding to the Manipur crises soon after the conflict began.
As of June 20, it has reached out to more than 14,000 displaced people living in various relief camps in Manipur and the adjoining states of Mizoram and Assam.
“Caritas India has come up with long-term plans for Manipur such as rehabilitation of the victims of violence and promotion of inter-community peace, harmony, and confidence building,” the statement read.
Archbishop Thazhath urged the public and church institutions to support the initiative ot Caritas India and “come together with one heart and mind and offer prayers and sacrifices for the restoration of peace and reconciliation among the communities in conflict”.