MANDALAY, Myanmar (CNS) ─ Archbishop Marco Tin Win of Mandalay has urged Catholics in Myanmar to hold special prayers for the nation facing "the crisis of COVID-19, hunger, civil wars and torture."
Ucanews.com reported the prelate has designated every Saturday evening for one hour of eucharistic adoration and the first Sunday of every month for Mass with the intention of peace.
Archbishop Tin Win is the only Catholic leader to openly lend moral support to pro-democracy protesters; he stood with them on a street in Mandalay after the February 2021 coup.
The archbishop has called on Catholics to not lose hope and to have a deep faith in God amid the fear, anxiety and hopelessness gripping their nation, ucanews.com reported.
After more than five decades of military rule, Myanmar was on the road to democracy, but the political, economic and social freedoms that began to sprout in 2011 were abruptly ended by the military coup.
The country has witnessed intense fighting between the military junta and rebel forces in the past few months in ethnic areas, including the predominantly Christian Kayah, Chin and Karen states, where civilians have been forced to leave their homes and flee to forests or take shelter in church institutions.
Junta forces have been using airstrikes and artillery shelling against ethnic armed groups and local militias in the Christian-majority areas. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced throughout the country, and some have fled to Thailand.
Pope Francis has been praying for peace in Myanmar and has called for negotiations and an end to violence.
In an appeal Dec. 26, Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon asked: "When will decades of civil war in Myanmar cease? When will we be able to enjoy true peace, with justice and true freedom? When will we stop killing one another?"