ROME — Pope Francis has asked people of all religions to join in prayer on Thursday, appealing to God for an end to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Men and women of every religious confession, today we unite in prayer and penance to ask for the grace of healing from this pandemic,” the pope said during the celebration of morning Mass on Thursday.
The pope was reiterating a call by the Vatican-sponsored Higher Committee of Human Fraternity for a common day of prayer and fasting, insisting that the world is “facing a great danger that threatens the lives of millions of people around the world due to the growing spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.”
The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity began as a Muslim-Catholic association born from a 2019 meeting in Abu Dhabi between Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar to sign the Document on Human Fraternity.
The committee “aspires to undertake complex challenges facing communities of all faiths, with an approach of openness, learning and dialogue,” its website states.
In its call to prayer, the committee invites believers of the world of any and all faiths to make Thursday May 14 “a day for fasting, prayers, and supplications for the good of all humanity.”
“Each one, from wherever they are and according to the teachings of their religion, faith, or sect, should implore God to lift this pandemic off us and the entire world, to rescue us all from this adversity,” the text states, “to inspire scientists to find a cure that can turn back this disease, and to save the whole world from the health, economic, and human repercussions of this serious pandemic.”
“While we reaffirm the role of medicine and scientific research in fighting this pandemic, we should not forget to seek refuge in God, the All-Creator, as we face such severe crisis [sic],” the message reads.
“Therefore, we call on all peoples around the world to do good deeds, observe fast, pray, and make devout supplications to God Almighty to end this pandemic,” it says.
Religious leaders and peoples around the world are invited to “together beseech God Almighty to safeguard the entire world, to help us overcome this pandemic, to restore security, stability, healthiness, and prosperity, so that, after this pandemic is over, our world will become a better place for humanity and fraternity than ever before.”