By Fr. Benedict Mayaki, SJ
Religions for Peace is organizing a moment of prayer for the world and those affected by the coronavirus pandemic on 1 April.
The event aims to unite leaders and followers of diverse religions around the world in a “spiritual moment of shared humanity – calling for health, compassion and strength in the time of Covid-19.”
The moment of prayer is to be broadcast live on the social media pages of the organization. Interested participants can join from home by registering on their website.
Interfaith moment of prayer
Speaking to Vatican News, the Archbishop Emeritus of Abuja, Nigeria, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, explains the importance of this moment of interfaith solidarity in prayer.
“It is significant that Religions for Peace International is organizing a moment of prayer by all religious leaders all over the world, so that with a common voice, we can invoke the mercy of God on the world.”
Recognizing that human efforts alone are not sufficient against the pandemic, he adds:
“Having tried our best as human beings, a time will come when we should realize that we are only human beings. God alone has the absolute power and we should find a way to reach out to God.”
Humanity is one
Referring to the initiative as a “powerful symbol,” the Cardinal stresses the importance of removing divisions from our midst.
“There is no example of our unity in need as we now have under coronavirus. It is clear now that the whole of humanity is one. There is no distinction between Christians, Muslims or Buddhists, Africans and Europeans, black and white,” he says.
The Cardinal enjoins us to pray for one another as “everybody is now in the same boat caused by the tempest of coronavirus.”
Initiatives of the Church
Cardinal Onaiyekan commends Pope Francis’ initiatives and the use of his influence during the coronavirus pandemic. He notes that “the Pope has always encouraged the work that is being done, and has been praying for the work being done by others, to counteract and fight against coronavirus.”
Calling for optimism, the Cardinal adds: “We are left with either faith in God or absolute despair. And I refuse to despair and continue to hope.”