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Ten thousand gather in Biel for national day of prayer

Around 10,000 people gathered in the Swiss city of Biel on Wednesday to mark the 2001 national day of prayer.

Many of those present used the occasion to pray individually or in small groups for a greater understanding of "God's will in Switzerland".

Organisers of the event said they had expected double the number of people to come together in Biel, but were nonetheless satisfied with the way in which the event had been received.

"Every single person who attended the event is important to us," organisers said.

Organised prayer meetings were punctuated by music and a series of speeches by leading theologians. A full-scale concert featuring a variety of Swiss bands was the evening highlight of the event.

Around 200 people also gathered for a day of prayer on the sites of the forthcoming "Expo.02" national exhibition which opens in May 2002.

The national day of prayer was first organised in 1998, when 5000 young Swiss gathered together to make a written pledge to pray for the Swiss government.

swissinfo with agencies

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