Karachi (Agenzia Fides) - "I am sending you to be missionaries of St. Joseph in the Archdiocese of Karachi in order to reach all the parishes and communities; you can organize meetings and pastoral activities on the life and mission of St. Joseph in the light of 'Patris Corde', the Apostolic Letter of Pope Francis published to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of St. Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church". It is with these words that Cardinal Joseph Coutts, Archbishop of Karachi, blessed and sent the team of priests created specifically for the Year of St. Joseph that the Church in Pakistan lives according to the indications of Pope Francis.
The announcement of the solemn opening of the Year was made during the inaugural Mass held on February 3 in the Cathedral of St. Patrick, presided over by Cardinal Coutts.
After the announcement of Pope Francis, who proclaimed the Year of St. Joseph for the Catholic Church from 8 December 2020 to 8 December 2021, the Catholic Bishops in Pakistan took action to raise awareness among the faithful about the life and mission of St. Joseph. Archbishop Joseph Arshad of the diocese of Islamabad-Rawalpindi, who is also President of the Pakistani Catholic Bishops' Conference, inaugurating the Year of St. Joseph in his diocese, said: "The life of St. Joseph is a blessing for each of us . He is a role model for our Christian families, especially for newlyweds who need to take care of their families. In this year of St. Joseph, I encourage all the faithful of my diocese and in Pakistan to focus on the life and mission of St. Joseph, patron of the Universal Church and head of the Holy Family. He was a loving father, who notably took care and protected his family".
Addressing men in particular, the Archbishop said: "I invite men to follow in the footsteps of St. Joseph. He being a father, all fathers of families can learn from the life of St. Joseph how responsible he was towards his family. St. Joseph is also a protector of the Church: he will also be an example for all of us so that we may be at the service of poor, defenseless and suffering humanity".
The Catholic diocese of Hyderabad inaugurated the Year of St. Joseph in mid-January, in a gathering that saw the participation of some 100 priests and religious serving in the diocese. Bishop Samson Shukardin OFM speaking to Agenzia Fides said: "The Year of St. Joseph is of great importance for the Church: it will certainly bring the values of obedience, responsibility and humility into the lives of the faithful, especially in families".
"Even the family of St. Joseph - he added - faced various challenges in life and was forced to emigrate. I invite the faithful in Pakistan to be close to people in their cities who are migrants. Pakistan is also one of the countries where people from small towns and villages migrate to big cities for work or study, and the number of these migrants is very high".
Archbishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore, urged the faithful of his diocese to learn to be more responsible for their families. The Archbishop, in the message sent to Fides, says: "Imitating Saint Joseph during this period of the coronavirus pandemic is a blessing for our families and for society. He urges us to live family life responsibly and to do our best to help the poor and needy, the defenseless, orphans and widows". Encouraging the faithful, the Archbishop said: "let us pray to become just like Saint Joseph, to work hard like Saint Joseph, to put our energies for the good of the family and the country. The saint also teaches us to commit ourselves in order to grow in our faith and in our spiritual life".
(AG-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 5/2/2021)