Protecting the seminarians
Attacks against Christians are a regular occurrence in Pakistan today. Almost every priest in the country has at some time received anonymous threatening phone calls or letters. Even the bishops of the country receive threatening letters, demanding that they convert to Islam.
Attacks on churches and Church properties are frequent and increasing – and sometimes they are much more serious than simply stone throwing. There have also been suicide attacks, bomb attacks, armed attacks, arson attacks and assaults by angry mobs and the danger is a real and constant one. Many churches are under police protection, and the government has required the Church to take increased security measures.
In 1995, the diocese of Islamabad-Rawalpindi opened a minor seminary in Lalazar, where young men who are contemplating a vocation to the priesthood undergo a preliminary three years of training, before entering the major seminary. Right now, there are 22 young seminarians living and studying at Our Lady of Lourdes Minor Seminary where they are introduced to the spiritual life.
The seminary is already surrounded by a wall, which has however, collapsed in places, so that unauthorized persons can easily gain access to the grounds. In a country like Pakistan, where terrorism and violence are everywhere, this is a great danger, particularly for the members of the embattled Christian minority. The wall needs to be repaired and rebuilt; it must be made higher and stronger to protect those within them.
Unfortunately, the seminary itself which has been standing for over 20 years now, has also had to have some essential repair and renovation work done in recent years. And so the diocese has turned to ACN for help to rebuild and reinforce the seminary enclosure wall. We have already promised $25,550.
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