Praying Together For Myanmar !
The coup d’etat on Feb. 1 halted Myanmar’s tentative steps towards democracy after nearly 50 years of military rule, and had drawn condemnation from around the world
The power grab plunged Myanmar into chaos, drawing hundreds of thousands of people on the streets of cities and towns across the country as doctors, teachers and other civil servants stop work in protest against the coup, known as the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM)
However, the violent crackdown by the military did not deter the protests despite more than 700 deaths and more than 3000 arrested. Even children were not spared.
Our immediate concern is our members and friends who are battling daily with an increasingly brutal regime and face danger not only on the streets but also while being in their own homes, however innocent and non-violent they may be. We cannot but worry and ask what we can do to help.
Since Feb 2, Fondacio Asia started a weekly online prayer via zoom open for everyone. We have around 50 people each night joining from all around the world for an hour of solidarity and prayer. We invited our members and friend in and outside Asia. Each week, friends of friends continue to add to the numbers of people who would like to pray for Myanmar.
Despite the challenging situation of our Myanmar members and friends, they still find time and energy to prepare these prayers with some of our other members.
Each night, we start with sharing news and updates on the ground to understand the situation there. This is also to help our participants to connect to the people of Myanmar and keep these intentions as we pray together. We did simple vigils, Stations of the cross, Divine Mercy Prayer and sing taize chants and meditation songs.
Sometimes, we also take time after the prayers to hear how our friends are doing during these trying times. With the chaos in their homes, it helps to have a space to speak their hearts. Some of them shared:
“I feel like the whole country is under darkness…I feel hopeless”
-Fondacio Myanmar Member
"It has been really hard to hear and see the TV images and news capturing the military coup in Myanmar. Personally knowing and loving the members of Fondacio Myanmar has made it all the more real and frightening. The weekly prayer sessions organized by Fondacio Asia, where we hear news of the Civil Disobedience Movement from the community members and Myanmar refugees has really helped me to be present to the pain and suffering that our Myanmar friends are experiencing. Listening to their stories and their fears and anxieties and anger helps me to unite with them in solidarity. I am in awe of their peaceful and creative protests, of their courage and persistence and I pray that the situation has a radical turn-around and the freedom and democracy that they have strived for over many years returns and that the lives of all Myanmar people are transformed yet again. I send them my prayers and love."
–Maddy Edwards, Fondacio volunteer for Myanmar
Whether it is to cry, to share their convictions and hopes or simply to be heard, it is a simple way of supporting them in their situation.
We also are blessed to have in some evenings Bp. Bruno Cosme (Cambodia) and Bp. Joel Baylon (Philippines) to be with us and giving us inspiring words and blessings.
The fight is not over and many of us feels called to take the next step to show our support.
Start of the coalition of Catholic Youth Organizations
In response to finding ways on how we can act, the Coalition of Catholic Youths has been established and gathered last March 20, 2021 via zoom to identify what actions we can take together. It is comprised of 17 Organizations from 8 countries, and may continue to expand as we collaborate with others.
We are looking at ways in how we can engage and empower the youth to act for Justice and Peace in Myanmar. We started by putting down a statement which will clarify our objectives, our way forward and how we will be engaging the youth.
The coalition also joined the Region Hall last and participated in writing the “Joint Declaration of the Southeast Asian People-to-People Region Hall on the Crisis in Myanmar” which further enriched our convictions and plans to support Myanmar.
Very soon, we will be sharing the tools and start engaging different groups to take part in this initiative with the hope that Myanmar will SOON reclaim their freedom and democracy.
Will you join us in this fight? Will you give your support for our Myanmar brothers and sister?
Until then, let’s continue to bring our prayer to our Lord, our savior and protector as how we always close our weekly prayer for Myanmar