ASIA/PAKISTAN - 1st National Eucharistic Congress organised by local Catholic community draws at least 20,000 participants and ample national media coverage
Lahore (Fides Service) - The country’s 1st National Eucharistic Congress organised by the local Catholic Church 9-11 September at the Marian Shrine of Mariamabad, Lahore diocese, was a great success. It drew at least 20,000 participants and attracted ample media coverage local and national. “Mary and the Eucharist” was the theme of this important Church event held in this last month of the special Year of the Eucharist, gift to the universal Church of the late beloved Pope John Paul II. The event was organised under the guidance of Archbishop Lawrence Saldhana, of Lahore who is president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan.
More than 20,000 people came to Mariamabad from all over Pakistan and the event was given ample space by national media, Christian and non, according to local Church sources in Lahore. During three days of prayer and reflection participants focussed on the relationship between Mary and the Eucharist with the help of conferences by Fr. Younan Shahzad a teacher at Christ the King Seminary in Karachi. The priest referred to the Blessed Virgin Mary as “Our Lady of the Eucharist”.
The Conference was also an occasion of evangelisation since it drew many non Christians attracted by the devotion of Catholic pilgrims.
The national marian strine of Mariamabad is situated 90 km from Lahore, capital of Punjab state. Every year it draws thousands of people clergy, religious and laity, families, other Christians and Muslims. Many see it as a sign of gorwing harmony between the two religions.
Mariamabad shrine was opened in 1949 by a Belgian Cappuchin Friar Frank who died a martyr.
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 19/9/2005 righe 24 parole 249)
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