President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has by Proclamation declared the second Friday in April as a Fast and Prayer Day to be observed throughout Liberia as a national holiday. In a rare occurrence, the national holiday this year coincides with Good Friday, according to the Christian ecumenical calendar both occurring on Friday, April 14.
According to a Foreign Ministry release, the Proclamation is in consonance with an Act of the National Legislature passed into law in 1883 declaring the second Friday in April of each year as National Fast and Prayer Day for the safety and welfare of the nation and its people with penitent reverence to God.
The Day is observed as a day of supplication, prayer, fasting and meditation so that our efforts as a people may be crowned with great achievements to the common cause of the nation, the state and our common humanity.
Good Friday, also considered a day of supplication, prayer and fasting, is commemorated in Christianity as the day Jesus Christ was crucified for the sins of mankind. (That's why it is called 'Good'.) The day is part of a 40-day season of fasting and prayer, beginning with Ash Wednesday and culminating in Easter. Good Friday is the Friday before Easter Sunday.
"According to the Gregorian Calendar (the one that we use), Easter is the first Sunday after the Paschal full moon, which is the first full moon on or after March 21," the website www.Catholic.com explains, shedding light on why Easter does not occur on the same date every year. "Easter thus always falls between March 22 and April 25."
Fast & Prayer Day
The Presidential proclamation recalls that the people of Liberia have always submitted themselves in humble contrition to the Almighty God for guidance and protection, as well as for peace in their national life and affairs.
The Proclamation further notes that there have been unusual and extraordinary outbreaks of natural phenomena and man provoked national crises that have caused much harm, devastation and destruction in many parts of the world from which our nation has been spared by the grace of God.
"There are still large numbers of our kith and kin living in uncertain conditions in the Diaspora, and the need for remembrance in prayer of those who have made the supreme sacrifice remains unfulfilled," the President said in the Proclamation as she urges everyone to observe the day prayerfully.
The Proclamation, therefore, calls on all prelates, priests, elders, deacons, evangelists, imams and all residents, regardless of religious creed, to gather with one accord in their respective places of worship within the territorial confines of Liberia in simple and non-costly apparel to fast, pray and meditate commencing at 8:00 a.m.
It further orders all public offices, business houses and market places to remain closed on this day, while citizens and foreign residents will cease from their daily occupations and avocations in further recognition of God's love and guidance for the nation.