JOURNEY WITH ACN is our weekly newsletter regularly posted to our website and designed to acquaint you with the needs of the Catholic Church around the world and introducing you to various projects we have helped to bring into being together with our partners and ACN benefactors.
This week: Pakistan
Simply for being Christian
Discrimination against Christians is all pervading in Pakistan. They are despised and oppressed as a matter of course.
In the parish of Toba Tek Singh in the Diocese of Faisalabad, there are 2,700 Catholic families. Most live a life of continuous hardship as unskilled workers, labourers and cleaners. Many work in brick-making factories, and are treated as slaves. They are without rights, and their pitiful wages of around $3.50 per day are generally paid six months in arrears, and only then, after they have carried out additional work on the harvest.
Their masters are Muslim landowners and brick kiln owners who even take away the rights of children, forcing them to work as well. In the face of such exploitation, Christians need to find strength from somewhere – and they find it in their Faith. Now these Catholics want to build a small church in their parish to help them persevere in their faith and live together in solidarity. We are helping them with a sum of $13,800.
This same diocese also ministers to Christians in prison. Many of these Christians languish behind bars simply because they are too poor to pay for lawyers and court costs. The Dominican Fathers visit these prisoners and help their families survive.
You too are supporting these priests, with $4,900 in donations to help them fulfill the words of Christ: “I was in prison and you visited me” (Mt 25:31). In a similar fashion, we are also supporting Christian nurses with a sum of $16,900 transmitted to them via the Diocese of Islamabad. These nurses are discriminated against in hospitals, simply for being Christian and are compelled to execute the most menial tasks and are frequently unable to get away, even on Sundays, for Holy Mass.
The problem is so glaringly serious that Bishop Anthony has set up a special center, specifically for the pastoral outreach to these nurses, so that help can be given to them in a sustained and effective manner. The center acts as an intermediary with the hospital management; the older nurses help to care for the younger girls, comforting them and organizing special prayer and catechetical meetings to help strengthen them in their faith. •
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