Bishops seek prayers ahead of Gujarat polls
By Matters India reporter
Gandhinagar: The bishops of Gujarat have urged Christians across the country to pray for the western Indian state that goes to crucial elections in December.
The Election Commission has fixed December 9 and 14 as the dates for elections in Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. His party, the Bharatiya Janata Party has ruled Gujarat since 1989. As many as 89 seats will face polls in the first phase and 93 in the second. The counting of the votes will be on December 18.
“The dates of Gujarat State assembly have been declared. The results of this election are significant and it will have its repercussion and reverberation throughout our beloved nation,” Archbishop Thomas Ignatius Macwan of Gandhinagar said in a letter addressed to all bishops and heads of religious orders in the country.
The November 21 letter says the elections will influence India’s future course. “We are aware that the secular and democratic fabric of our country is at stake. Human rights are being violated. The constitutions rights are being trampled. Not a single day goes without any attack on our churches, church personnel, faithful or institutions. There is a growing sense of insecurity among the minorities, Other Backward Classes, Backward Castes and the poor. The nationalist forces are on the verge of taking over the country. The election results of Gujarat assembly can make a difference,” the letter says.
The bishops of Gujarat have aslo requested for prayer service in parishes and convents across the country so voters elect only those who would remain faithful to country’s constitution and respect every human being without any sort of discrimination, the letter said.
“The recitation of Holy Rosary at individual, community, family and parish levels will be a great help. Encourage your faithful to pray the Rosary. Time and again the rosary has proved to be a protective hand,” it added.
Archbishop Macwan recalled that praying the rosary had saved Europe, tumbled several Communist governments and dictators in a number of countries and brought abortion incidents in Poland from 30 percent to 4 percent.
“It will save our country from nationalist forces too. Even the Lord, while he was praying in the garden of Gethsemane, had asked his disciple to watch and pray. Let us take His advice seriously. Let us trust in our Lord Jesus and ask his help. We keep Mother Mary with us as a great support,” Archbishop Macwan said.
BJP now rules 18 states of 29 states in India.