Lahore (Agenzia Fides) – An ecumenical vigil marked the Pentecost celebration for the different Christian communities of Lahore, capital of Punjab, who found themselves gathered at a meeting of prayer and reflection, with the aim of strengthening the spirit of communion and sharing. The vigil, held on the eve of Pentecost in the Church of St. Joseph in Lahore, and organized by the "Committee of Ecumenical Unity ", was attended by hundreds of faithful and representatives of the four major Christian communities in Pakistan: Mgr. Sebastian F. Shaw, Apostolic Administrator of Lahore (Catholic Church); the Bishops Samuel Robert Azaria and Irfan Jamil ("Church of Pakistan," Anglican) Rev. Salamat Masih (Salvation Army) rev. Arif M. Siraj (Presbyterian Church).
"The faith of the early Christians was based on their personal experience: they had seen and heard the Lord, had touched him and showed him to the faithful through fraternity, the sharing of the bread and testimony," said Bishop Irfan Jamil. "We need to rediscover brotherhood like that of the early Church, which was rooted in the faith." The Bishop also made a point on evangelization, asking the faithful to share the proclamation: "Christ rose from the dead and we are his witnesses."
Mgr. Sebastian Shaw OFM, on encouraging initiatives and ecumenical efforts, remarked that solidarity among Christians is seen in difficult moments, but also in social programs that "challenge us to come closer to each other." Rev. Arif Siraj, moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Pakistan, stressed "the urgency and the beauty of unity, which is a gift of the Holy Spirit." "We thank the Lord for the gift of his Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the Spirit is with us always. The unity among the Churches must be visible. In an Islamic country like Pakistan we are called to be witnesses of Christ, " concluded Bishop Samuel Robert Azariah.
Christians in Pakistan are in all 3% of the population, in a country which has about 180 million inhabitants. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 20/05/2013)