Catholics pray as pandemic spreads fear, panic and pain in Nepal


Catholics in Nepal have joined in prayers, penance and fasting for an end to Covid-19 as the pandemic wreaks havoc in the Himalayan nation.

Thousands of Catholics, confined to their homes due to a strict lockdown, participated in a Mass broadcast live from the bishop’s house, virtual divine mercy and worship, the recitation of the Rosary and Eucharistic adoration on May 31.

The one-day prayer and fasting for divine deliverance responded to a call from Bishop Paul Simick, the Apostolic Vicar of Nepal, on May 18, when he invited Catholic priests, religious and lay people to pray intensely all by tracking all necessary coronaviruses. precautions.

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“We are well aware of the devastating second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic which has affected the whole world, including Nepal. In recent weeks Nepal has seen a sudden increase in the number of new infections and deaths,” Bishop Simick said in a pastoral letter.

“In these times of fear, anguish, panic and pain caused by the rapid spread of Covid-19 infections, as Christians we look to our Good Shepherd, who is our stronghold and refuge: as the says the Psalm, ‘Certainly your loving-kindness and your love will follow me all the days of my life “(Psalm 23,6).”

The bishop also urged every community, ward, and association to organize internal online prayer services to allow everyone to participate.

We ask the patroness of our vicariate that with her powerful intercession, we can free ourselves from this deadly virus

“We seek refuge under the protection of Our Mother Mary, we invoke the health of the sick, we ask the patroness of our vicariate that, thanks to her powerful intercession, we can free ourselves from this deadly virus”, declared Bishop Simick.

The Nepalese chapter of Couples for Christ, an international Catholic lay church movement for family life ministries, urged its members to join in prayer, penance and fasting

A Catholic in the capital Kathmandu told UCA News that he and his family participated in prayer and fasting from their home during the city’s lockdown.

The predominantly Hindu Nepal has only about 8,000 Catholics among its estimated population of 28 million, but the Global Christian Database estimates that there are 3-5 million Protestant and Evangelical Christians in the country.

The country was hit hard by the second wave of Covid-19 in mid-April and its fragile health system collapsed. Nepal had registered 561,302 cases and 7,386 deaths as of May 31.

Hospitals have struggled to get beds and oxygen for huge numbers of patients. With a daily rate of 6.51 deaths per million, Nepal has the worst case fatality scenario in South Asia.

Health experts say the official figures are gross understatements, warning that actual cases and deaths are several times higher. Media reports suggest Nepal has been hit by the Covid-19 disaster in neighboring India and is paying the price for a miserable lack of preparedness and slow response despite the just ravages of the across the border.

The official figures are still devastating for Nepal. According to the English daily Nepali Times, the country has the second highest bi-weekly increase in deaths in the world with 291 percent and the highest national test positivity rate of 40 percent.

Prime Minister KP Oli’s government accused of exacerbating the crisis by prioritizing pandemic policy

Nepal only performs 713 tests per million population, contact tracing is virtually non-existent, less than 2% of the population is fully vaccinated and mask wear is below 65%, he added. .

Prime Minister KP Oli’s government has been blamed for exacerbating the crisis by prioritizing policy over the pandemic. Nepal’s bicameral parliament has been dissolved twice by Oli and President Bidya Devi Bhandari in just two months. New elections have been announced for November.

Oli’s ruling Communist Nepalese Party has struggled to hold onto power amid heavy pressure from opposition parties to topple its government that came to power in 2018.

Authorities have imposed lockdowns in various parts of the country since April 29 to stem the new infections. In the Kathmandu Valley, the worst-affected region near the border with India’s Uttar Pradesh state, the lockdown has been extended until June 3.

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