Lahore (Agenzia Fides) – That in Pakistan is a Church that lives faith in every day difficulties, in a country where 95% are Muslims and is "fervent in priestly vocations and consecrated life, a sign of God's blessing, which is always close to his people": emphasizes Fr. Inayat Bernard, Rector of "Santa Maria" Minor Seminary in Lahore.
Fr. Bernard, who leads 26 young seminarians, recalls the figures
that distinguish the Church of Pakistan, which flourishes in vocations: 23 priestly ordinations, including diocesan and religious priests, since the beginning of 2015 to date, and 15 new deacons who are preparing to be ordained in 2016. Meanwhile, 79 major seminarians study at the Karachi National Institute of Theology, and 96 at the major seminary dedicated to St. Francis Xavier in Lahore: "These figures predict a rosy future for the Catholic Church in Pakistan", said Fr. Inayat, "without forgetting the many vocations in women's religious orders: a sign of hope that instills confidence and courage even in difficult moments". It is true that the Christian community, in the complex socio- political situation in Pakistan, sometimes suffers from discrimination or incidents of violence, such as the attack which took place at Easter in Lahore, "while terrorism strikes indiscriminately religious, civil and military targets", he notes. But these difficulties "do not affect our freedom and the faith of the people, but strengthens it and today we are appreciating the fruits", he concludes. "It is true that martyrdom, which we sometimes experience, is in itself the seed of new Christians and remains a gift of God that only through faith one can understand and live" he concludes. ( PA) (Agenzia Fides 04/05/2016)