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Mario Bard

 

Pakistan – The “Asia Bibi” the world knows nothing about – ACN-News

16.02.2019 in ACN International, ACN Interview, Aid to the Church in Need Canada, Asia, Asia Bibi, Blasphemy Law, By Maria Lozano, By Marta Petrosillo, Journey with ACN, Mario Bard, Pakistan

Pakistan: “My husband is innocent!” –

The “Asia Bibi” the world knows nothing about

 

In Pakistan, 224 Christians have been victims of the blasphemy law since the law’s passage in 1986, Cecil Shane Chaudhry, Executive Director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) of Pakistan, told a delegation from Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) during a visit to the Asian country.

The Colony Joseph. In March 2013, almost 300 houses and 2 churches were destroyed after the Christian Sawan Masih was accused of blasphemy.

 

By Marta Petrosillo and Maria Lozano

 

Although the legal case against Asia Bibi finally came to a positive resolution on January 29th, 23 Christians were killed for blasphemy accusations between 1990 and 2017 and the Commission has documented a further 25 cases of Christians under trial, according to a study presented to ACN.

 

Specifically, there are two paragraphs of Section 295 of the Pakistani Penal Code (paragraphs B and C) that can be understood as the “anti-blasphemy law”. Section 295B stipulates a life sentence for anyone who desecrates the Quran, while insulting the Prophet Muhammed carries the death sentence under Section 295C.

 

“The anti-blasphemy law is a powerful tool that fundamentalists can wield to the detriment of minorities and is often misused as a means of personal revenge,” Chaudhry said. “And when charges are brought against Christians, the entire community suffers the consequences.”

 

This is exactly what happened in March 2013 in Joseph Colony, a Christian district in Lahore, after the young Christian Sawan Masih was accused of having insulted Muhammad. “On 9 March, after Friday prayers, a mob of 3000 Muslims burnt down the entire district, destroying almost 300 houses and two churches,” Father Emmanuel Yousaf, NCJP President, explained to the delegation from ACN during a visit to the residential area. In the meantime, the district been rebuilt, thanks to funding from the government and returned to the Christians.

 

Cecil Shane Chaudhry, executive director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) of Pakistan.

While the 83 instigators of the arson attack have all been released, Sawan Masih was sentenced to death in 2014 and is still waiting for the appeal proceedings to be held. “The hearings are constantly being postponed,” attorney Tahir Bashir explained. “The last hearing was scheduled for 28 January, but the judge did not appear. A new court date has now been set for 27 February.”

National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) was formed in 1985 by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan. It provides services in the field of human rights advocacy. Since 1990 the Commission has defended cases of blasphemy against Muslims, Christians and Hindus, and has campaigned for abolition of the blasphemy laws. The team of the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP).

Just as in the case of Asia Bibi, there are a lot of irregularities in Sawan’s case. The charges against him were brought by one of his Muslim friends, Shahid Imran, following an argument between the two men. Only two days later, two witnesses appeared who in reality had not even been present at the time Muhammed was allegedly insulted. “The charges against Sawan are being exploited,” Father Yousaf told ACN. “The true motivation behind this is an attempt to drive Christians out of this city district. It has become very popular because it lies very close to the steel factories.”

 

In the meantime, Sawan’s wife Sobia is raising their three children all by herself. “I don’t know why they have accused my husband,” she said to ACN. “I just know that the man who brought charges against him was a friend of his with whom he had quarrelled. Sawan is innocent!”

 


 

Pakistan – Interview – “The blasphemy law destroys lives”

01.02.2019 in ACN Canada, ACN International, ACN Interview, Aid to the Church in Need Canada, Aide à l’Église en détresse., Asia, By Mario Bard, By Tobias Lehner, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN, liberté religieuse, Mario Bard, Pakistan, Religious freedom, Voyager avec l’AED

Pakistan

“The blasphemy law destroys lives”

Dominican Father James Channan has been working to establish a dialogue between Christians and Muslims for years – in a country in which acts of violence against the infinitesimally small minority of Christians are a regular occurrence and any perceived criticism of Islam is subject to draconian punishments under the blasphemy law; Asia Bibi was not an isolated case. Father Channan is head of the Peace Center located in the city of Lahore in Pakistan.

During a visit to the headquarters of the pontifical charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Father Channan talked about the impact of the blasphemy laws, propitious developments in the Islamic world, and the future prospects of Asia Bibi in an interview with Tobias Lehner.

***

Tobias Lehner: The fate of Asia Bibi has given the world a face to associate with the perilous situation of many Christians in Pakistan. After years on death row, she was acquitted of blasphemy charges in late October 2018 and released from prison. What can you tell us about the current situation?

Father James Channan: The situation of the Christians in Pakistan is alarming. They live in fear and uncertainty. This situation has not changed since the 1970s, when legislation in Pakistan began to be based on Islamic Sharia law. Radical Muslims are misusing the controversial blasphemy law in particular to settle personal scores. Anytime, Christians are accused of supposed blasphemy, all Christians in the region are indicted with them. This often leads to acts of violence against Christians.

And this is exactly what happened in the case of Asia Bibi. She was on death row for nine years on charges of blasphemy. Even now, after her acquittal, she is anything but safe. Radical Islamists are trying to find her so that they can kill her. That is why she is currently under state protection. We hope that the Supreme Court will soon confirm her acquittal and refuse to grant permission to appeal. Then, hopefully, she will be able to leave the country and live in freedom.

Asia Bibi is not an isolated case. What can you tell us about the fate of Christians who are also facing charges of blasphemy?

According to a report of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan, there are 224 other cases of Christians since 1984 facing charges of blasphemy, and currently 25. One of these is the case of the married couple Shafqat Masih and Shagufta Bibi. I visited them on death row. They have been accused of sending blasphemous text messages, which the couple denies. Their prospects are very bleak. Even should they be acquitted, they and their children will no longer be able to live in Pakistan. Fanatic Muslims will try to kill them. The blasphemy law destroys the lives of those who have been accused, even if they avoid being executed.

Following the acquittal of Asia Bibi we saw pictures of an angry mob that continued to call for her execution. In view of this, is there even a chance of religious freedom for Christians living in Pakistan?

It seemed as though at any moment, a group of militant Muslims would bring the entire country to a standstill. However, militant Islam does not hold the majority in Pakistan. The country has a fraction of about 10 to 15 per cent of radical Islamists who are provoking people to violence. The majority of Muslims do not follow these agitators. They are advocates for religious freedom, also for Christians. Both Christians and Muslims were greatly relieved when Pakistani security forces recently arrested more than 1000 Islamists. Cracking down on extremism was the right thing for the government to do. And I hope that this will continue.

Aid to the Church in Need has been working with you for many years. From a European standpoint, there is little one can do to change the situation. Does the aid actually make a difference for the Christians in Pakistan?

The support provided by ACN plays a crucial role in ensuring that the church in Pakistan can continue to proclaim the faith and promote a dialogue. The assistance has allowed us to build many bridges between Christians and Muslims. We want to demonstrate that the different religions have nothing to fear from one another. A large number of Muslim clerics, including the Grand Imam of the second largest mosque in Pakistan, are a fixed part of our programme at the Peace Center in Lahore and close friends. I am convinced that the foundation for a good and peaceful future can only be built by establishing a dialogue between Christians and Muslims.

Amanda Griiffin and Mario Bard from ACN-Canada met Father James Channan last September.


 

Archbishop Lépine calls us to Pray, Give, Speak-Out

12.07.2017 in Aid to the Church in Need Canada, Famine, Mario Bard, Nigeria, Prayer, Press Release, South Sudan

The Pray, Give, Speak-Out Campaign

Archbishop Lépine calls for solidarity

 

“It is now that millions of people suffer from hunger… let us stand in solidarity with them,” answers Msgr. Christian Lépine when asked why give for the famine in Nigeria and in South Sudan in a short video published yesterday on Aid to the Church in Need Canada’s Youtube channel.

 

Marie-Claude Lalonde and Msgr Christian Lépine during the Pray, Give, Speak-Out campaign launch in June.

A reminder from the Archbishop of Montreal and member of the ACN International Council, that the campaign launched by the Canadian Catholic Bishops is still underway and that the situation itself remains a major concern for our project partners.

 

“If the period for matching donations by the Canadian government has ended, Aid to the Church in Need continues to receive donations to relieve hunger due to famine,” indicates Marie-Claude Lalonde, National Director of Aid to the Church in Need.

“We are happy that Msgr. Lépine supports us in this urgent action as a member of our organization’s International Council.  We therefore would like to invite people who have not yet had the chance to give to this campaign to do so as quickly as possible.”  ACN Canada is one of three charitable organizations proposed by the Canadian Catholic Conference of Bishops as part of the campaign they launched in June called, Pray, Give, Speak-Out, aiming at countering the famine threatening over 20 million people in Yemen and in three other African countries namely Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria.  ACN has been able to give support to project partners in the last two countries among those listed.

Concrete results already emerging

In fact, our project partners have begun receiving what is needed to feed the people coming to them.  “They have already begun work to help the population.  What our organization is sending is but a bare minimum for the time being.  Our objective of collecting $290,000 is on its way to being achieved!  Let us hope for it and thanks to the generosity of Canadians, that we may do more than we initially planned for.  Thank you for your help with this urgent mission!” declares Mrs. Lalonde.

 

To assist our project partners in Northern Nigeria and in South Sudan, please give at the following address:
www.acn-aed-ca.org/iamstarving/

 

We also welcome donations by credit card over the phone:
1-800-585-6333, Ext 227 for Donor Services.

Finally, cheques can be sent by mail.  Please mention ‘Famine Campaign 2017’ on the envelope and making cheques payable to Aid to the Church in Need.  Our mailing address:

Aid to the Church in Need Canada
Famine Campaign 2017

P.B. Box. 670, Station H
Montreal (Québec) H3G 2M6

*

 


 

ACN Press talks to Msgr Joly about a vigil he has organized for persecuted Christians

15.04.2016 in ACN BENEFACTORS, ACN Canada, ACN PRESS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Mario Bard, Persecution of Christians, Prayer, Press Release

 A vigil for persecuted Christians

Prayer and information on an April day

 

Msgr Joly

Msgr  Jean-Pierre Joly

Montreal, Friday April 15, 2016 At 82 years of age, Msgr Jean-Pierre Joly continues to fan the flame of his priesthood.  And even though he is retired, Msgr Joly is involved in numerous Bible groups, does volunteer work and gives a hand to parishes throughout the Laurentians wherever he is needed. One day, a radio program inspired him to put together a vigil.  His inspiration turned into a concrete reality and will be held Wednesday April 27 at 7:30pm at the Saint Sauveur des Monts parish.

“I was in my car when I heard a program called Plus on est de fous, plus on lit (roughly translated as ‘The more crazies we are, the more we read’).  Someone had a book called The black book of the condition of Christians in the world (with the collaboration of 70 contributors)*,” he explains to Mario Bard of Aid to the Church in Need.

“The person who had presented the book said they were profoundly surprised by this situation.  I bought the book, and I read it through.”  The first read touched him profoundly, so much so that he met with Marie-Claude Lalonde, National Director of Aid to the Church in Need, the pontifical charity which has been building awareness for over 60 years about the situation of Christians who have suffered persecution as a result of their faith.  “I discovered ACN and I strongly encourage others to do so,” he said.

Following this, and for many months, I tried to sensitize people.” And how did they react when he spoke to them about it? “The majority ask themselves: What can we do? I feel that they are moved,” he said. “There is also the fact that Pope Francis insists often on the testimonies of these people as a source of renewal for Christians in the West,” he made clear.

 

'N' for Nazarene

‘N’ for Nazarene

A lack of information

The vigil to be held this coming April 27, organized by the group ‘l’Étincelle des Laurentides’ in collaboration with the Canadian office of Aid to the Church in Need will, of course, be an occasion to pray for and to be in solidarity with persecuted Christians all around the world.  But it will also be an opportunity to provide information about those who are persecuted because of their Christian faith – 75% of cases of religious persecution in the world, representing close to 200 million people.

Msgr Joly who hopes to continue his work of sensitizing people after the vigil says “people are not well-informed by the media.”  Moreover, he feels this difficult situation gives an opportunity to Christians in the West to revisit the Gospel, “where it tells us these things will happen. That his [Jesus] disciples must expect persecution, as it is said in the last prayer of Jesus in the Gospel of John.”

And there are also two letters from Peter, “who are addressed to persecuted Christians.” Msgr. Joly recalls that one of the principal characters of the Church, Saint Paul, was himself a former persecutor.  This story convinces him all the more today that, “even a persecutor can change,” and offers hope of an even greater importance in this Year of Mercy.

 

New Picture (13)Vigil for Persecuted Christians

Wednesday, April 27 at 7:30pm
at the parish of Saint-Sauveur-des-Monts,  205 Rue Principale
To get to the Saint-Sauveur-des-Monts
(about 1 km from exit 60)
From Montréal :

Take l’Autoroute 15 Nord to Exit 60.
Take your first left,  Rue Robert to your left (overpass)
Next, right turn at the lights Chemin Jean-Adam
Turn right on Avenue de la Gare/QC-364 E
Turn right on Rue Principale/QC-364 E

For additional Information:
If you are in the Laurentians: 514-795-5515
All other regions: 514-932-0552, Ext 224 or 221

 

*Appeared in October 2013, this volume coordinated by Samuel Lieven, incorporates the contributions of 70 people including Timothy Radcliffe, Andrea Riccardi and Msgr. Jean-Michel di Falco

 

Article by Mario Bard, ACN Canada

Translated and adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin

 


 

Feature story : “We identify more with Good Friday than with Easter”

24.03.2016 in ACN Canada, ACN Feature, Adaptation Mario Bard, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, AED Canada, Aide à l’Église en détresse., By Oliver Maksan, By Oliver Maksan, Feature Story, Holy Land, Israel, Jerusalem, Journey with ACN, Mario Bard, Middle East, Moyen-Orient, Uncategorized, Voyager avec l’AED

Jerusalem, the Holy Land

“We identify more with Good Friday than with Easter”

Holy Week has begun in Jerusalem with the big Palm Sunday procession – but the political situation has left its mark   

 

Jerusalem belongs to the Christians on Palm Sunday. Bearing palm fronds and olive branches, thousands of locals and visitors from all over the world make their way singing and praying down the Mount of Olives to the Old City of Jerusalem to receive the blessing of the Latin Patriarch.

 

Much to the annoyance of motorists, Israeli police close off the streets to traffic so that the kilometres long procession can pass through unhindered. Long after the Palm Sunday procession has ended, the celebrations continue in and close to the Christian quarter of the Old City. Even the tram has to temporarily discontinue operations when the Christian scout groups parade with their bagpipes. With these celebrations Palestinian Christians – only a small minority in both Israel and Palestine – not only want to commemorate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, but also show Jews and Muslims: We are still here – even though we only make up two percent of the population in Israel, and even less in Palestine.

 

This year however, the joy was subdued. The wave of violence that has shaken the Holy Land since last autumn has left its mark. Since fewer foreign pilgrims are traveling to the Holy Land because of the current situation, the procession was much smaller than usual. In an interview with Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), a representative of the Israeli police estimated that the procession, which had 30,000 participants last year, was probably only half as large this year. Most importantly, however: Christians from the West Bank were missing.

 

Bishop Fouad Twal leads the procession on Palms Sunday 2016.

Bishop Fouad Twal leads the procession on Palms Sunday 2016.

“The people are afraid to come to Jerusalem”

 

“Last year we arrived from Bethlehem in seven buses. This year there were only three,” explained Johnny, a Catholic from the birthplace of Christ. He said that in contrast to previous years, no Christians came from West Bank cities such as Nablus or Jenin. The reason, he explained, was that Israeli authorities only started issuing entry permits to Jerusalem very late this year. “We only found out on Friday whether we would be able to go on Sunday. For many this was just too short notice,” he told the pastoral charity.

 

However, Johnny then said, what the real reason was: “The people are afraid to come to Jerusalem. They fear that something could happen to them. We constantly hear about Palestinians being shot here.”

 

In fact, since autumn more than 180 Palestinians have died in clashes with Israeli security forces in the Holy Land. However, many of them were killed because they attacked Israelis, including civilians. The attacks were carried out with knives, scissors or guns. More than 30 Jews were killed in this way. Israelis speak of victims of terrorism when referring to their dead and insist on their right to self-defence. Most Palestinians consider their dead to be resistance fighters who were executed by Israelis without sentencing. These viewpoints are irreconcilable. And thus hatred and distrust continue to grow on both sides.

 

“The church is opposed to any form of violence, be it from Palestinians or from Israeli soldiers. After all, the fact that they are wearing a uniform does not justify everything they do. However, at the same time we are for justice. It is simply not enough to say: No more violence. As long as there is injustice, there will be no peace,” Jamal Khader, said the rector of the Latin Patriarchate Seminary in Beit Jalla, a neighbouring town of Bethlehem.

 

Jerusalem has to be an open city. It belongs to everyone…

 

In an interview with Aid to the Church in Need, he was not surprised to hear about the drop in the number of visitors to the Palm Sunday procession this year. “I can understand that Palestinian Christians do not feel like coming to Jerusalem – and that despite the fact that it is Easter and we traditionally celebrate it in Jerusalem.” The priest said that it all started in the late nineties with the checkpoints. “The people often had to wait for hours. Then came the

The city of Jerusalem.

The city of Jerusalem.

wall and the permits. I used to come to Jerusalem for an ice cream. Today, I avoid coming here whenever I can. I do not want to have to pass through the checkpoints. And many feel the same.”

 

Father Jamal believes that Israel wants to discourage Palestinians from visiting Jerusalem. “Not everyone is issued an entry permit for the high feast days. Sometimes only the parents receive a permit and not the children. Then everyone stays home of course. Sometimes they are all issued a permit, but are then turned back again for some reason. This can’t be. Jerusalem has to be an open city. It belongs to everyone, Jews, Christians, Muslims. It can never be an exclusive city. Because then there will never be peace.”

 

Father Khader said that the political situation also influences how Palestinian Christians celebrate Easter. “We Christians of Palestine identify more with Good Friday than with Easter. We as Palestinians can closely relate to the sufferings of Christ. When we see Christ suffering, we see our suffering. The Gospels of the Passion not only tell the story of Jesus, but also our own. That does not mean that we do not believe in resurrection and the hope that goes along with this. But we are not that far yet.”

 

Interview by Oliver Maksan
Adaptation: Amanda Griffin, ACN Canada.


 

 

Project of the Week: A house of Mercy

16.03.2016 in ACN Canada, ACN PROJECTS, Adaptation Mario Bard, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Aide à l’Église en détresse., Centrafrique, Central Africa, Central African Republic, Construction, International Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need, Journey with ACN, Mario Bard, Voyager avec l’AED

Central African Republic

 

Help to renovate and extend a parish church in Bozoum

The parish of Saint Michael, in Bozoum, Central Africa, is one of the oldest in the country. Founded in 1927, it was the first mission station outside the modern capital of Bangui and become famous mainly due to the courageous work of the Italian Carmelite, Father Aurelio Gazzera.

 

Father Aurelio, who is 53 today, had already become something of a legend by his mid-40s. It was in 2007, in fact, when he  single-handedly succeeded in putting a stop to the ravages of the bandits, the so-called “Zaraguinas,” who were looting houses, abducting children, extorting ransoms and generally keeping people in fear and in terror.

Father Aurelio went out, unarmed, to meet the heavily armed bandits and succeeded in persuading them to return to a normal life with their families, to mend their ways and leave the people in peace. “My only weapon was prayer,” he says.

A few months later, the people were able to live in peace once more and their children went back to school again. To this day, the children in the villages of the region still sing a song about him: “Merci na Aurelio na Nzapa ti lo” – “Thanks to Aurelio and his God for making the bandits put down their guns.”

The next time though, that Bozoum caught the world’s eye,  was during the bloody warfare of 2013 and 2014. On this occasion Father Aurelio again succeeded, through tireless peace negotiations  with all the warring parties and with the various different ethnic groups, in preventing a massacre in his town. Many of the world media reported on the action of this courageous priest, who saved hundreds of lives but who on many occasions almost paid with his own life for this. But his motto was, and is: “Even if they kill me, I will not die.”

A celebration in the church of Bozoum. Father Aurelio hope people can pray in a bigger church and receive Mercy there too.

A celebration in the church of Bozoum. Father Aurelio hopes people will be able to pray in a bigger church and receive Mercy there too.

In his efforts to bring peace, his face was slapped by the rebels, his car was shot up, and on one occasion an overheated Muslim mob very nearly lynched him. While stones rained down on his car and furious individuals threatened him with guns, Father Aurelio quietly prayed the Rosary. He lived by the literal word of the Gospel: “Do good to those who hate you.”

No to vengeance, yes to generosity

Immediately after this incident, he set out, together with a handful of volunteers from the parish, to bring water, rice and medicines – provided at his own expense – to the Muslims, who had retreated together in a dense crowd for safety, for fear of reprisals. But, above all, he wanted to bring them consolation as he said later, adding, “They were the same people who had threatened me and smashed the windows of my car with stones. But now they were nothing but frightened children, women and men, who were also in need.”He even succeeded in persuading the people of his parish get involved in active of charity to benefit the Muslims.

Initially, he ventured out cautiously, asking  people to bring money and food to the church in order to help the Muslims. “I did not press this point too hard, because I know that the wounds are still very much open. Many people have lost family members, others had relatives who were tortured; some were robbed, and all of them were forced to spend weeks far away from home – and all this because of the overwhelmingly Muslim Seleka rebels and some local Muslims.” But in the end Father Aurelio was overwhelmed by their generosity. “Normally, with the collection for the poor which we hold once a month, the people give a little bit of food for the orphans and a little bit of money, between 20 and 30 CAN dollars. But that Sunday my Christians really touched me. They brought a great quantity of foodstuffs with them and contributed more than 100 CAN dollars!” That is a lot of money in such a bitterly poor country. And he adds, visibly moved, “The people were willing to give much more for their enemies of yesterday than they normally give for their own brothers and sisters, the poor people of the parish.”

 

A bigger place for Mercy

Father Aurelio knows well that the most important thing of all is to break the terrible spiral of hatred and revenge and, after the war, to rebuild not only the ruined houses but above all the hearts and consciences of the people. The present Year of Mercy is an ideal opportunity to do so. In fact it was in the Central African Republic that Pope Francis actually anticipated this year by opening the Holy Door in the Catholic cathedral of the capital Bangui on 29 November 2015, in order to make this Mercy tangibly present above all in this country so torn apart by hatred and violence. And in his homily he also declared Bangui the “spiritual capital of the world.”

 

Father Aurelio wants to proclaim this message of Divine Mercy to everyone. Above everything else, he is a priest – in both heart and soul. He says, “If I can give some food to someone who is hungry, then that is already something. But if I can give him the true Food, namely Christ, then I am giving him everything.” His parish is flourishing, and every year there are over 100 baptisms. There have been spiritual vocations from the parish, and his church is full for every Holy Mass. Yet it is precisely this – though in fact a reason for joy – that has also brought him a problem, for the church has now become too small! The structure of the church, which was built in the 1960s, is also suffering, and there are cracks in the foundations. This damage must be corrected, and at the same time Father Aurelio wants to enlarge the church so that it can accommodate more of the faithful.

ACN is helping him with 58,000 CAN dollars, so that he can repair and enlarge this church and so that this parish church of Bozoum can in future become a place of mercy for still more of his people.

Vocations are Floroushing in Bozoum.

Vocations are flourishing in Bozoum.


 

Project of the Week: Kilometers for the Good News!

09.03.2016 in ACN Canada, ACN PROJECTS, Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, Aide à l’Église en détresse., Journey with ACN, Mario Bard, Pakistan, TRANSPORTATION

Pakistan

 

Essential kilometers for pastoral

The diocese of Multan sprawls over an area of over 38,000 square miles (98,000 km²), an area larger than the size of Austria. The territory stretching across  the diocese has a population of some 7.5 million,  200,000 of whom are Catholics. It is divided up into 18 parishes, which in turn serve very large areas.

The great majority of the people are very very poor, yet, as Bishop Benny Mario Travas writes, “rich in their Catholic faith.” They are very close to the Church and practice their faith joyfully.

Children in front of a Marian Grotto, Diocese of Mulan.

Children in front of a Marian Grotto, Diocese of Mulan.

The priests travel tirelessly, visiting their widely scattered faithful, celebrating Holy Mass and administering to them the Sacraments.

The parish of Khaneval, for example, has 14 additional outstations, some very remote from the centre of the parish. Father Asif Malik has to celebrate five Masses each Sunday in different places, some of which are in directly opposite directions from one another. At Easter and at Christmas, and as much during Holy Week – it is all but impossible to reach every centre in time. In addition to his work in the parish, its young priest also teaches in the seminary of Multan.

Unfortunately, last year, one of the priests had an accident in the car that Father Malik also uses. It was a miracle that none of the people involved in the accident were hurt, but the car itself is practically fit only for scrap.

 

Of course,
without a car,
pastoral work in this area is simply impossible.
That is why Bishop Travas has turned to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) with an urgent appeal for help.
We have given 13,630 CAN dollars.