Worldwide Fast for COVID-19
An outpouring of people of many faiths – and no faith at all - have pledged to participate in a 24-hour period of worldwide fasting and prayer on Good Friday to stem the COVID-19 pandemic.
The movement to participate in the fast spread via hundreds of thousands of Facebook posts after the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Russell M. Nelson, invited people of all denominations to join in the Good Friday fast and prayer on April 10. The response has been heart wrenching and touching, as people have posted their personal reasons for participating in it on Facebook.
“I invite all, including those not of our faith, to fast and pray on Good Friday, April 10, that the present pandemic may be controlled, caregivers protected, the economy strengthened and life normalized,” the church leader declared on Saturday.
Good Friday is traditionally a day of fasting for Catholics and some other Christian denominations, and Catholic leaders also issued a declaration for a Good Friday intention, which is a celebration of the Eucharist for a particular purpose, to pray for all those who suffer the consequences of the pandemic. It asks God to “look with compassion on the sorrowful condition of your children who suffer because of this pandemic; relieve the pain of the sick; give strength to those who care for them; welcome into your peace those who had died; and throughout this time of tribulation, grant that we may all find comfort in your merciful love.”
A Worldwide Fast Facebook page was created after the Saturday invitation, and more 300,000 people have joined. They include people of many Christian denominations, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists and people of other faiths, in addition to people who don't profess a faith.
This week is Passover, and a number of Jews posted that they would be praying as part of the worldwide effort.
Many who are not Christian or who are not religious have pledged to join the fast. Many who can’t fast from food because of pregnancy or health conditions have promised to fast from electronic media, television, food, soda or to fast just one meal. The Facebook page has been flooded with questions about fasting and stories of people who have fasted as part of prayer in the past. Nelson's declaration suggested going without food for 24 hours, for people who don't have health restrictions, but he and the administrators of the Facebook page have added that people are free to decide what constitutes a fast for them.
People from over 100 countries and all 50 states in the United States have posted on the Facebook page.
Here is a sample of a few of the posts:
Some said they were participating to offer prayers for health care workers on the front lines of the pandemic.
Some commented on the unusual phenomenon of so many people of different religions and cultures joining together in fasting and prayer.
Others declared their own beliefs and said they wanted to join with others in fasting and prayer.
Many said they were fasting in memory of a loved one who had died or in honor of people who were suffering from COVID-19.
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