Supporting Pastoral care for families
The diocese of Hyderabad is located in the southern part of Pakistan and covers a vast territory of over 137,000 km².
Here live an extraordinarily minority group made up of about 50,000 Catholics, many of whom belong to ethnic minorities, among a population of 28 million Muslims, many of who were formerly Hindus.
These groups find themselves at the very bottom rungs of society, often condemned to work as labourers in the fields of big landowners or as brick makers in the brick furnaces. Generally speaking, they find themselves entirely at the mercy of their wealthy masters. Some also perform menial tasks like street sweeping or toilet cleaning in the towns and are paid very irregularly. Understandably, because of this financial instability, families often fall into debt. Should a family member fall ill or lose his job, or if his employer fails to pay his wages, the entire family will be forced to borrow money often at extortionate interest rates, resulting of courser in ever deeper debt and thrusting them into a vicious spiral of poverty and dependency. Many families have become trapped for generations in this cycle of debt slavery. It is a very heavy and crushing burden for many people.
Bishop Samson Shukardin writes: “Just to put something on the table each day is a daily battle and a daily reality for these families. The spiral of poverty, unemployment and indebtedness drives many into drug addiction and other forms of dependency and brings upon their families a veritable plague of conflict, arguments, discord and in many cases domestic violence.”
It is the bishop‘s deepest wish to help these families hold together in these difficult circumstances, and live their Christian faith in such a way that peace, harmony and love prevail within them. To fulfill this heartfelt wish, he has established a program to strengthen and support married couples and their families.
Under the direction of a Sister who has spent 25 years working with family apostolate, and with the help of trained and experienced married couples, courses and meetings are being offered in all 17 parishes of the diocese, for young soon to be engaged couples, for married couples in the process of establishing their family and for family groups in general. Topics included among others: How to be good parents? How can family pray together? How do couples learn how to communicate and respect one another? How can we establish a Christian marriage and a Christian family life, based on the Sacraments?
“They have my full backing and support,” writes the bishop stated in a letter to us, “since the welfare of the family is decisive for the future of the world and of the Church.”
“Only if we nurture the Christian life of families and support them pastorally will the Church be faithful to her mission as a light to the nations.”
We have promised an amount of $18,488 to help in funding these courses for families and married couples in the 17 parishes of the diocese.
Thank you for supporting these Christians in Pakistan!