The Vicar-General of Lahore archdiocese is urging Catholics to seek divine intervention as a dengue fever epidemic adds to what he calls the “ten plagues of Egypt” that are gripping the country.
Following a Mass at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Lahore on Tuesday, Father Andrew Nisari called for daily rosary and family prayers to protect people against the virus.
“The situation in this country is like the ten plagues of Egypt. Mosquitoes have turned against humans, floods are destroying everything and our houses are plunged into darkness amid endless power cuts. The devotion to Mary can protect you as well as medicines,” he said, adding that the deadly virus is claiming at least six lives each day.
The epidemic, which started around the middle of July, has so far killed 143 people including a member of the provincial assembly and a Chinese national. Some 14,500 people have tested positive for the virus in Lahore alone.
Special prayers are being offered in Churches for the recovery of three priests, one of whom is in critical condition.
The virus has also affected Church workers in offices around the cathedral including at the diocesan bimonthly periodical, the National Catholic Recording studio and at Caritas Pakistan Lahore (CPL).
“People from all these offices have gone down with dengue,” said Father Joseph Louis executive secretary of CPL.
Meanwhile all Church run and government schools reopened this week after being closed for 10 days for fumigation.
Students are also being told to wear full sleeve shirts and long pants.
The World Health Organization’s Geneva mission recently sent an expert to Lahore to offer technical assistance to local experts regarding the epidemic.