ASIA/PAKISTAN - The Church of Punjab united, beyond the Indo-Pakistani border

Saturday, 7 May 2016 local churches   formation   pilgrimages   year of mercy  

Arcidiocesi di Lahore

Lahore (Agenzia Fides) – To overcome divisions, differences, political tensions that exist between India and Pakistan and rediscover the common roots, in the sign of culture, faith, fraternity: with this spirit the Diocese of Lahore, capital of Pakistani Punjab, organized a jubilee pilgrimage in Indian Punjab at the end of April, visiting the neighboring Indian dioceses and "making an experience of unity, sharing, communion and fraternity", remarked to Fides Archbishop Francis Sebastian Shaw of Lahore, who led a delegation of 16 diocesan priests. "We went to India with the threefold purpose of visiting Indian Christian brothers; establish cordial relations with the local Church, participate in seminars, conferences and retreats in both countries; explore collaboration in the fields of the permanent formation of priests, nuns and catechists and lay people interested; and, finally, to share information on pastoral activities, in the name of evangelical witness", explained to Fides the Archbishop of Lahore. This is the first experience in the history of the 130 years since the birth of the diocese of Lahore. In 1886, the diocese of Lahore was officially erected, and the missionary work began on site thanks to French, Italian missionaries and Belgian Capuchin friars. In 1947, the territory of Punjab was divided in two: one Pakistani, one Indian. The Pakistani delegation visited the diocese of Agra and Jalandhar in Indian Punjab, and even New Delhi.
"We hope that in this Year of mercy we can re-evaluate historical places, churches, the life experiences of the faithful and, with our sharing, be the salt of the earth and light of the world. We hope to be witnesses of the Gospel in the Indian sub-continent", remarked the Archbishop. The group of priests in Lahore found this experience of ecclesial fraternity, joyful and inspiring", said Fr. Inayat Bernard, one of the participants. The pilgrimage of the priests will be exchanged: priests and religious from India will visit Pakistan. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 07/05/2016)