Lahore (Agenzia Fides) - United in prayer and mutual solidarity, invoking God to free us from the pandemic: it is with in this spirit that yesterday, May 14, leaders of the various religions in Pakistan met in the Catholic Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Lahore, imploring God for the coronavirus epidemic to end in Pakistan and throughout the world. The meeting was organized by the National Commission for Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenism (NCIDE), within the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan, following the appeal of Pope Francis and the Committee for Human Fraternity, so that throughout the world a "Fasting, prayer, works of charity day" would be celebrated.
As reported to Agenzia Fides, all those present observed the protective measures and precautions against the spread of Covid-19. According to what Agenzia Fides learned, Archbishop Sebastian Shaw, at the head of the diocese of Lahore, in his host cathedral, said to those present: "This pandemic is attacking all human beings all over the world, without any border or limit. It travels from city to city and from country to country and kills people. This invisible bacterium makes no difference between people of religion or status, it affects everyone. Human beings today and forever are called to eliminate all kinds of differences and discrimination from their hearts and unite in social and religious harmony". The Archbishop, who led the prayer meeting, also invited leaders of all religions to pray continuously and to remain united in mutual solidarity to defeat the pandemic. "Believers of all religions are called to unite spiritually, today in particular, and always, on a Day of prayer, fasting and works of charity, begging God to help humanity, overcoming the coronavirus pandemic", said Archbishop Shaw, who is also president of the NCIDE Commission.
Leaders from the Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh communities were present, including Fr. Francis Nadeem OFM Cap, (NCIDE Executive Secretary), Fr. James Chanan O.P., Fr. Qaisar Feroz OFM Cal, Fr. Mushtaq Piyara, Maulana Sahibzada Asim Makhdoom (chairman of the board of directors of "Kalama Masalik Ulema") Allama Mufti Syed Ashiq Hussain (principal of the Bait-ul-Quran madrasa), Qari Khalid Mahmood (member of the Assembly of Punjab) Bhagat Lal (Hindu leader) and Sadar Bishon (Sikh leader). All the leaders devotedly participated in the interreligious prayer assembly, reciting prayers according to their religious beliefs and traditions.
All those present appreciated and praised the spiritual movement launched by Pope Francis and the imam of Al-azhar for human fraternity in the world, also appreciating the efforts of NCIDE in Pakistan, in this difficult moment. A special message was sent to those present by Muhammad Abdul Khabir Azad, Imam of the great "Royal Mosque" of Lahore who, although not physically present, reaffirmed his spiritual unity and prayed together with the participants, thanking the Pope for the initiative to hold together the believers of all religions, united for a common good, in this moment of trial for humanity. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 15/5/2020)