Mirpur Khas (Agenzia Fides) - "We are called by God to serve His people with love and mercy. Seminary formation is sacred and we must never forget what we have learned in the seminary. God blesses young people called to the priesthood. Always remember that God has called us and we must pray for our call to the priesthood. Take Mary, the mother of Jesus, to be your mother: she will take care of you and watch over your lives. Mary's faith and humility shaped her mission; it was through her faith and humility that she was raised to heaven", said Archbishop Christophe Zakhia El Kassis, Apostolic Nuncio to Pakistan, at the inauguration and blessing of the new minor Seminary of St. Bonaventure attended by more than 300 faithful, priests, religious, seminarians and lay people from the Catholic Diocese of Hyderabad. This is the first minor Seminary of the diocese of Hyderabad, which was inaugurated and opened to young people on the occasion of the Feast of the Assumption and opened to the study of young people.
Speaking specifically to seminarians and priests, the nuncio said: "Our vocation to the priesthood comes from God... we are called to this particular mission of God in obedience to the bishops and with great humility. Whether you are a seminarian or a priest, always take time to to pray for your vocation to the priesthood". The Archbishop continued: "The formation of seminarians is very close to my heart. Be humble like our Mother Mary. God loves humble people because they are willing to accept his will. Trust in him and his teachings to be witnesses of God, like our mother of God Mary".
The Apostolic Nuncio concelebrated along with Msgr. Samson Shukardin OFM, Bishop of Hyderabad, Fr. Tariq Talib, Rector of the seminary, and 16 other priests.
The Apostolic Nuncio then blessed the chapel, the tabernacle, the altar and then the facilities such as the dining room, the kitchen, the classrooms, the staff room, the library, the computer room and the Rector's Office.
Bishop Samson Shukardin OFM, sharing his thoughts with Fides, said: "This is a joyful occasion, full of special grace: we have fought a long time and come a long way to reach this goal. Today we are happy that this dream has come true. In the past there were few vocations to the priesthood. We started a project in 2016 for a minor seminary preparatory institute with 25 students. They then had to move to other dioceses to attend the minor Seminary. Now their study and formation path will continuesin our minor Seminary. We are very happy about that".
"This new seminary", he added, "is a symbol of hope that the number of priestly vocations will increase in our diocese. We have made our contribution and we will continue it with great commitment. I invite our faithful, especially families and Parents, to prepare their young sons to enter the seminary so that they can become our future priests and serve the Lord Jesus Christ and the people of God".
In May 2021, the diocese started building the minor Seminary (see Fides, 18/6/21). Thanks to the efforts of the community and with the support of partners such as "Missio Austria" and "Aid to the Church in Need", the construction work was financed and completed quickly.
The Rector of the new seminary, Father Tariq Talib, emphasizes: "This new seminary will be a home for young men who are on the path of discernment for their priestly vocation. We have 16 seminarians in their first, second and third year studies".
The St. Bonaventure Minor Seminary is located in Mirpur Khas (a town 75 kilometers from Hyderabad) and offers accommodation for 30 students. The minor Seminary accommodates students attending secondary school, while the major Seminary is for university studies (philosophy and theology).
The Catholic Diocese of Hyderabad in southern Pakistan was established in August 1958 on a section of the Archdiocese of Karachi and has 16 parishes with a total of over 52,000 Catholics who are served by 13 diocesan priests and 14 religious priests.
It is characterized by the vast work of apostolate among nthe tribal peoples present in Pakistan. The faithful of the diocese belong to different cultures, tribes and ethnic groups, and speak different languages such as Urdu, Sindhi, Kaachi, Kohli, Parkari, Vehari and others.
(AG/PA) (Agenzia Fides, 19/8/2022)