ASIA/PAKISTAN-The Bishop of Islamabad: " Faith and the commitment of the laity for the future of the Church and the nation"

Islamabad (Agenzia Fides) - "It is the moment of the laity in the Church in Pakistan. We can count on the deep faith and strong commitment of the laity, who are the future of the Church and must be part of the leadership of the country " says to Fides His Exc. Mgr. Rufin Anthony, Bishop of Islamabad-Rawalpindi, describing the reality in the Church of Pakistan, immersed in a social fabric which is largely Muslim. For the pastoral care of 180 thousand faithful who live in the diocese, in the northern province of Punjab, there are 34 priests who, on the recommendation of the Bishop, encourage movements and lay associations, contributing "to spiritual growth, faith, ecclesial commitment and social life of the laity. "
The Focolare Movement, Charismatic Renewal, the Neocatechumenals, the Community of St. Egidio, and others have had an impulse in recent years in the diocese. "We want to give, through these movements, the centrality of the Word of God in the lives of families: this is the alphabet of our faith," explains the Bishop. "And we want to emphasize the shared responsibility in the pastoral work of the laity," he continues.
The Bishop recalled the time when "the missionaries evangelized this region: their method was mainly that of education, with the establishment of many schools." "Today it is urgent to continue this work in the field of formation and education, so that Christians can be part of the leadership of the country. It is therefore important to focus on the laity," explains Bishop Anthony. "In Pakistan – he recalls - Christians are often poor and marginalized, they do the most menial jobs and are struggling to survive: one can give them dignity only through the fundamental tool of education."
Mgr. Anthony also said he was confident in the relationship with Muslims: Christian families in fact, "have good relations with Muslim families and this is the basis for a peaceful coexistence in society. Despite the formation and different faith, there is a common point of view in being all part of the human family and in respect for human dignity." (PA) (Agenzia Fides 14/4/2012)

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