The head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has set a day of prayer “for the suffering people of Myanmar and, in particular, for the Church in Myanmar.”
CBCP president Archbishop Romulo Valles said in an announcement that the day of prayer is set on May 30. He urged all Catholic dioceses around the country to participate in the event by offering Masses for peace in Myanmar.
“Let us beg the Lord for an end to this violence and for all the people concerned to be led towards the forging of peace,” Valles said. (Read: Catholic Nuns, Priests Join Anti-Coup Protests in Myanmar)
May 30 marks the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, and is also designated as Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) by the CBCP.
Day of Prayer for Myanmar
The day of prayer was announced following news that four Catholic faithful who were sheltering in a Myanmar church were killed by military forces. (Read: Myanmar Bishops Condemn Killings of Anti-Coup Protesters)
On May 23, Pentecost Sunday, Myanmar’s military fired artillery shells at the Sacred Heart Church in Kayanthayar. It comes as more than 300 people had taken refuge in the church compound due to fighting over the weekend between the military and an anti-coup resistance group.
The attack caused extensive damage to the church and left eight other civilians wounded.
Church Leaders Step In
Since the start of the military coup on February 1, more than 800 people had been killed and 3,000 had been detained while fighting for the reinstallation of democracy in Myanmar.
Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon has been appealing for an end to the violence, urging both the military and protesters to engage in a dialogue and find a common resolution to the national conflict.
“This needs to stop. We plead with you all … kindly do not escalate the war,” he said. (Read: Myanmar Cardinal Says Good Works, Prayers Will Heal the Nation)
Pope Francis on May 16 celebrated Mass for Myanmar Catholics living in Rome, urging them not to lose hope. He also appealed for unity, calling division among peoples “a deadly disease”.