Pray together for Myanmar!
The February 1 coup ended attempts to democratize Myanmar after nearly 50 years of military rule and drew condemnation from around the world.
This coup plunged Myanmar into chaos, drawing hundreds of thousands of people onto the streets of cities and towns across the country, with doctors, teachers and other civil servants stopping work to protest the coup, known as the name of Civil Disobedience Movement (MDC).
However, the violent repression by the army did not deter the protests, despite more than 700 deaths and more than 3,000 arrests. Even children were not spared.
Our immediate concern is with our members and friends who fight daily against an increasingly brutal regime and face danger not only on the streets but also in their own homes, however innocent and non-violent they may be. We can only worry and wonder what we can do to help them.
Since February 2, Fondacio Asia has launched a weekly online prayer via zoom open to all. Every evening, around 50 people from all over the world join us for an hour of solidarity and prayer. We have invited our members and our friends in Asia and elsewhere. Each week, friends of friends continue to add to the number of people wishing to pray for Myanmar.
Despite the difficult situation of our members and friends in Myanmar, they always find the time and energy to prepare these prayers with some of our other members.
Every evening, we start by sharing news and updates from the field to understand the situation on the ground. It also helps our participants connect with the people of Myanmar and keep those intentions as we pray together. We had simple vigils, Stations of the Cross, the Divine Mercy prayer and we sang songs from Taizé and songs of meditation.
Sometimes we also take time after prayers to listen to how our friends are doing in these difficult times. With the chaos in their homes, it helps to have a space to speak from their hearts. Some of them testified:
“I feel like the whole country is plunged into darkness…I feel hopeless.”
-Member of Fondacio Myanmar
“It was very difficult to hear and see the television images and news about the military coup in Myanmar. Knowing and personally loving the members of Fondacio Myanmar made the situation even more real and The weekly prayer sessions organized by Fondacio Asia, where community members and refugees from Myanmar teach us about the civil disobedience movement, have really helped me to be present to the pain and suffering that live our friends in Myanmar. Listening to their stories, their fears, their anxieties and their anger helps me to join them in solidarity. I admire their peaceful and creative protests, their courage and their perseverance and I pray for the situation to turn around drastically and for the freedom and democracy for which they have been fighting for many years to return and for the lives of all the people of Myanmar to be at transformed again. I send them my prayers and my love.”
–Maddy Edwards, Fondacio volunteer for Myanmar
Whether it’s to cry, to share their convictions and their hopes or simply to be listened to, it’s a simple way to support them in their situation.
We are also fortunate to have, on certain evenings, Mgr. Bruno Cosme (Cambodia) and Msgr. Joel Baylon (Philippines) for accompanying us and giving us inspiring words and blessings.
The fight is not over and many of us feel called to take the next step to show our support.
Beginning of the Coalition of Catholic Youth Organizations
In response to the search for means of action, the Catholic Youth Coalition was created and met on March 20, 2021 via zoom to identify actions we can take together. It is made up of 17 organizations from 8 countries, and can continue to grow as we collaborate with others.
We seek ways to engage young people and empower them to take action for justice and peace in Myanmar. We started by drafting a statement that clarifies our goals, our way forward and how we will engage young people.
The coalition also joined the Region Hall last and participated in the drafting of the “ Joint Statement of the South East Asia Region Hall on the Myanmar Crisis” which further enriched our beliefs and plans for support for Myanmar.
Very soon, we will share the tools and start engaging different groups to take part in this initiative in the hope that Myanmar quickly regains its freedom and democracy.
Will you join us in this fight? Will you support our brothers and sisters in Myanmar?
Until then, let us continue to address our prayers to our Lord, our savior and protector, as we are still concluding our weekly prayer for Myanmar.