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Inter-faith prayer for tsunami victims in Phuket

Catholics, Muslims, Buddhists, foreigners and Thais have come together in Phuket to pray for the souls of those who died in a calamity that has distressed the whole world. Yesterday, the chants of a thousand monks and the glow of more than 10,000 candles honoured the memory of those who died in the tsunami and to the millions who have donated billions of dollars to help the living pick up their lives.

Asia News reports that during the ceremony, more than 100 illuminated paper lanterns were released into the sky in an emotional symbolic send-off for the spirits of the departed.

Many who suffered losses in the tsunami wept, but one monk suggested that this might be the beginning of a long healing process from the evil and the wounds that mark the earth.

Fr Peter Pakpoom of the Church of Our Lady of Assumption in Phuket led the Catholic prayers for the souls of the dead that they might find peace and for the survivors that they be granted strength to rebuild their lives.

Imam Naren Rodnakrat said Muslims, particularly in Indonesia and Thailand, have been badly hit by the tsunami, but his prayers went out to people from all over the world since "we all have the same roots even if our beliefs may differ".

Venerable Phra Dhammakittiwong, head of Phuket's Buddhist monastic community, led the final prayers of the service, seeking strength and willpower for survivors that they may carry on and a blessing for those who died.

Back in Australia, The Age reports Prime Minister John Howard yesterday declared 16 January the national day of commemoration to honour tsunami victims and survivors. With at least 16 Australians dead and another 72 feared dead, Mr Howard invited people to find their own way of observing the day.

"Many Australians will mark that by attending church services, others will choose to do it in different ways," he said.

"I respect the fact that Sunday is not a day of religious observance for all faiths in this country and understandably people, for example of the Islamic faith, would perhaps mark the occasion on Friday which is the normal day of prayers in the Muslim religion."

Inter-faith prayer for tsunami victims in Phuket (AsiaNews 6/1/05)
PM declares national day to remember victims (The Age 6/1/05)

Caritas Australia | Caritas Australia Asian Eathquake/Tsunami Appeal

Pope joins Europe's mourning for tsunami victims (CathNews 6/1/05)
Stronger faith builds in the wake of disaster (CathNews 6/1/05)
Hope is found in faith in Tamil Nadu tragedy (CathNews 6/1/05)
For some charities, delivery is half the battle (CathNews 6/1/05)
Tsunami survivors find consolation in church personnel (CathNews 5/1/05)
Bishop denounces Asian adoption profiteers (CathNews 5/1/05)
Pope praises human solidarity after tsunami tragedy (CathNews 4/1/05)
Australian Church sends prayers and support to tsunami victims (CathNews 4/1/05)

Irish Catholics to hold day of solidarity with people of SE Asia (Independant Catholic News 6/1/05)

7 Jan 2005