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Hands join in prayers for Pope

Ranchi/ Jamshedpur, April 5: Catholic schools in the state capital will be closed on Thursday as a mark of respect to late Pope John Paul II.

Some religious as well as the social institutions are also expected to remain closed on that day. A special mass will be held on that day.

Principal of St Xavier's school Father James Lakra told The Telegraph that the school had organised a condolence meeting to pay homage to the Pope on Monday.

'I spoke about the Pope's message of peace and solidarity among all. He was the messenger of harmony,' he said.

He added the school management has decided to devote an entire week to Pope John Paul's memory. 'The schoolstudents are being asked to reflect upon his values and try to implement those in their daily lives,' he said.

St Aloysius School organised a prayer to be held at St Mary's Cathedral on Thursday. Officials of St Anthony's School have arranged for a small prayer meeting for staff members to pray for the departed soul.

People from all walks of life irrespective of language, caste and religion have joined in prayers. 'Not only Catholic students, but also students of other religions are participating in prayers,' said Sister Priscilla , principal of Nirmala College.

St. Xavier's, Loreto Convent, St Francis, St Anthony's, St John's, St Anne's, St Aloysius, Carmel school are expected to remain closed on Thursday.

The Jamshedpur diocese is planning to set up a memorial for Pope John Paul II in the steel city. The memorial will carry social welfare activities in the city and at the same time will disseminate the principles of the Pope. Bishop of Jamshedpur Felix Toppo said the Pope's death is a loss to the entire humanity, especially the Catholic community.

'And since the Pope championed the cause of the downtrodden, it is our duty to remember him by reaching to common people which can be achieved by setting up a memorial,' he added.

'The Pope was a global messenger of peace. We are planning a memorial which will spread his message and carry welfare activities in the society,' Toppo said.

He said nitty-gritty of the memorial will be chalked out once the funeral function in the Vatican is over.

He said all city-based Catholic schools will be closed on Wednesday as a mark of respect for the departed soul.

All schools and educational institutions including St Joseph's School, Golmuri, St Mary's English and Hindi Schools, St Robert's Parsudih, Loyola School, Carmel Junior College, Little Flower School, Gyan Deep, St Anthony's and Amar Jyoti School will be closed.

The bishop said schools in Dhanbad, Purulia and Adra will be shut on Friday, the day of the Pope's funeral.

The Jamshedpur diocese will hold an all-religion prayer service at St Joseph's Cathedral, Golmuri. Religious leaders including Harshad Bhai Rupani (Jainism), Prof S.N. Saifi (Islam), Giani Surendra Singh (Sikhism) will participate in the function. Toppo said the decision to organise an all-religion prayer service was taken after requests poured in from different religious sects expressing their desires to pay tribute to the departed soul.

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