Pope Francis is asking Catholics to pray for peace in Myanmar.
In remarks following the public recitation of the Regina Coeli on Sunday, Pope Francis invited the faithful to join the Burmese Church in praying for peace by adding a Hail Mary for Myanmar during the daily recitation of the Rosary in May.
The Pope made his request in the context of the Marathon of Prayer initiative, taking place throughout the month of May, which is traditionally devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pope Francis has requested Catholics, and all people of good will, to pray in a special way during this month for an end to the Covid-19 pandemic. At the same time, he has also sought to situate the ongoing crisis in a broader perspective, inviting people to use the global emergency as an opportunity to “take stock” of the current global situation so that humanity might come out of the crisis “better than before.”
“Each of us turns to our Mother when we are in need or in difficulty,” the Pope said on Sunday. “This month, we ask our Mother in Heaven to speak to the hearts of all leaders in Myanmar, so that they might find the courage to walk the path of encounter, reconciliation, and peace.”
Five people killed in demonstrations on Sunday
Myanmar, also known as Burma, has been in turmoil since February 1, when military leaders orchestrated a coup overthrowing the country’s elected government.
The coup prompted widespread protests in Myanmar, to which the military has responded with violence. At protests on Sunday, security forces fired on demonstrators, with reports of at least five people killed. Human rights organizations claim more than 750 people have been killed since the start of the unrest, while the military leadership admits around 250 have died in the violence. A media lockdown has made it difficult to verify conflicting reports.
Tragedy in Israel
Pope Francis also prayed on Sunday for victims of a stampede that took place in Israel last week. More than forty people were killed and dozens more injured early Friday morning during a religious festival in northern Israel.
“With sadness I express my closeness to the people of Israel for the incident that took place on Friday on Mount Meron, which caused the death of forty-five people and numerous injuries,” the Pope said. He assured them that he would remember the victims of the tragedy and their families in his prayers.