The coronavirus has affected the world economically, politically and by all means terribly.
As the COVID-19 is increasing day by day, Leaders of Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox and evangelical fellowships of India sang hymns and prayed together online and evoked the power of Holy Spirit on Sunday afternoon at Pentecost.
In the past week India has added more than 50,000 cases, totaling more than 250,000 infections with more than 7400 deaths. With daily infections rising to over 10,000 and lockdown norms relaxing by the government, experts say the pandemic could spread even further.
“We are united in one agreement and united in faith,” Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay, president of the Indian Catholic Bishops’ Conference (CBCI), said as he urged Christians to pray for the country.
The prayer initiative was organized by the United Christian Forum, an ecumenical group. Several bishops joined the prayer program including Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh state in central India.
All the Catholic parishes in the Archdiocese of Bhopal held prayers at noon as scheduled, while Archbishop Cornelio also conducted an online prayer service for Catholics to attend from their homes, Archdiocesan spokesman Father Maria Stephen said.
It was “a prayer of hope at the time that everyone in the country struggles with no immediate relief from the pandemic that continues to spread among the masses,” after the event Archbishop Cornelio told UCA News.
Pastor Vinu Paul, who leads New Frontier Church based in Maharashtra’s western state, said people in his church were “praying together for the healing of our country.”
Bishop Chacko Thottumarickal of Indore also urged Christians to seek help from God to save the country from coronavirus. “When we all pray together, God will send out His Holy Spirit and deliver the nation “of 1,3 billion people, the bishop said.
The feast of Pentecost, observed 50 days after Easter, commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, on the Virgin Mary and the Apostles, as they gathered in the “upper room” in Jerusalem. The event marks the birth of the Church.
The bells were rang and the prayer begun, symbolizing the message of hope that must ring out to the nation from church. The prayer was 25 minutes long.
The ecumenical initiative included healing prayers and prayers for various sectors of society such as government, politicians, those in authority, police, health workers and pandemic victims.
Divine Word Father John Paul, one of the organizers and president of Indore-based Christian Media Forum, said they prayed “for all the unsung heroes of our day namely; physicians, nurses, medical workers , police and other law and order enforcing staff, grocer, truckers, farmers, bank employees, all who maintain power, water, and other vital services.” The priest said , “These all need special protection from the God, as they are the real heroes serving the nation and are in the front lines.” National Anthem was sung at the end to close the prayer.