VATICAN CITY — The Day of Prayer for Humanity unfolds as more than 4.3 million people across the globe have now been infected with Covid-19 since an outbreak was first reported in China’s Hubei province late last year.
More than 296,600 people have officially died from the infection, and experts have issued dramatic forecasts regarding the aftermath of the pandemic that has devastated economies and left millions without a job.
A vast chorus of diverse voices across the world has expressed its support and confirmed its participation in this unique ‘Day of Prayer for Humanity’.
They are Christians and Muslims, Hindus and Jews, Jains, Buddhists, atheists and agnostics.
They are uniting – in the words of Pope Francis – “as brothers and sisters, to ask the Lord to save humanity from the pandemic, to enlighten scientists and to heal the sick”.
The call for this day of prayer came from the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity which was established last August a few months after Pope Francis’s Apostolic Visit to the United Arab Emirates. He expressed his support for it during his Regina Coeli Address on 3 May, pointing out the universality of prayer.
“Remember”, he said, “on 14 May, all believers together, believers of different traditions, pray, fast, and perform works of charity” imploring the Lord to save humanity from the pandemic.
The Committee meanwhile has launched the hashtag #PrayForHumanity to help people feel united and religious leaders across the faith spectrum have organised events and reached out on social media.
Individuals and communities are doing their thing in many ways and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has been actively promoting the event.
Among those known to be adhereing to the ‘Day of Prayer for Humanity’ are the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Center for Interreligious Dialogue in Iran, the Islam Adyan Foundation, the World Jewish Congress, the Institute of Jainology, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the World Council of Churches, as well as Buddhist representatives, and Hindu spiritual leaders.
Other lay organizations, such as the Association of African Universities and the UN Alliance of Civilizations as well royalty, heads of international organizations, prime ministers and presidents spanning the five continents, are also known to be participating.