By Mica Rosenberg

TEGUCIGALPA - A month after a coup that has plunged Honduras into its worst political crisis in decades, the country's de facto rulers declared Tuesday an official Day of Prayer for peace.  

State television has been playing announcements for days with the slogan "Let us all pray for our Honduras."

Facing international condemnation of a June 28 coup that has led to a freeze on multinational lending and threats of wider sanctions, Honduras, one of the poorest countries in Latin America, needs all the help it can get.

"We ask God to save Honduras for us. We pray to God for all who are suffering in this crisis, and we pray to God to punish the wicked," a priest saying Mass at the main Catholic cathedral in Tegucigalpa said.

He did not say who he thought should be punished but the leaders of the Catholic Church have criticized exiled President Manuel Zelaya and backed the interim government, headed by Roberto Micheletti.