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Faithful gather for Mandela

02 July 2013, 07:28

Johannesburg - People from different religions around the world continued praying on Monday for the recovery of former president Nelson Mandela, who remains in a critical condition in a Pretoria hospital.

In the United Kingdom, Westminister Abbey said on its website that daily prayers were being carried out for Mandela.

"Prayers for the former president of South Africa... are being included in daily eucharists at Westminster Abbey.

"The Church of England has published a prayer for use by individuals and communities of prayer."

The prayer asks God to "look with mercy on Madiba Mandela and on all your children in South Africa".

The Abbey has been the coronation church since 1066 and is the final resting place of 17 monarchs.

Mandela was admitted to the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria with a recurring lung infection on 8 June. Monday was his 24th day in hospital.

On Saturday, President Jacob Zuma said Mandela remained in a critical condition but he hoped for a recovery.

In Dublin, at the Christ Church Cathedral, a prayer vigil was held for Mandela last week.

"The service drew people from all over Dublin City," its said on its website.

"As people, communities, organisations, and countries come together to pray for this venerable personality who has been a torchlight of knowledge and an example of outstanding character and values, Christ Church has invited all friends and neighbours to come and join them to sing, speak, light candles, and pray collectively as one for Nelson Mandela," Reverend Dermot Dunne said on the website.

He led prayers for Mandela, honouring the example he set and praying for him "at this critical moment in his life".

He prayed for the Mandela family and the people of South Africa to continue their "great journey of nation building".

The service concluded with a rendition of the South African national anthem.

An inspiration to all

The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) urged its members to pray for Madiba.

"[T]he ISNA remembers his historical contribution as a fighter for freedom and human solidarity," the society said on its website.

"Mandela not only led his people to victory against apartheid but also inspired all of humanity with his unwavering commitment to reconciliation and forgiveness."

The society applauded the 94-year-old former president for his "special qualities" as a leader and a "model of virtue, integrity, and sincerity".

"We join the South African nation, Muslims of South Africa, and the whole human family in fully identifying with his life-long struggle and spirit of sacrifice, and we pray to Allah that his legacy will continue to emblazon the people of South Africa and the world."

South Africa’s chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein was quoted as saying on the JewishJournal.com website: "The prayers and thoughts of the South African Jewish community are with former president Nelson Mandela and his family at this difficult time."

Rabbi Avi Rabin said Mandela was one of the great leaders of "our time".

"Here is a real leader, a man who is willing to sacrifice and place the country’s needs above his own. He is largely responsible for the great peaceful transformation that took place in South Africa after apartheid," he said on the website.

Back home

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa prayed for Mandela while visiting him in hospital.

Part of his prayer, posted on the church's website reads: "Make your compassionate and strengthening presence known to Graça [Machel], and to all who love Madiba, at this hard time of watching and waiting.

"Fill them with your holy courage... take away their fears so that they may dare to face their grief."

Makgoba called on God to "guide the medical staff so that they may know how to use their skills wisely and well, in caring for Madiba and keeping him comfortable".

In Nevada, in the US, leaders of various religions gathered on 16 June for a multi-faith prayer service for the Nobel laureate.

It was organised by the Rehoboth Holy Temple and the Universal Society of Hinduism.

Prayers were offered by Christian, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist leaders.




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