Karachi (Agenzia Fides) - The Holy Spirit has accompanied the life of Christians in the territory of Karachi, a city in southern Pakistan, for 75 years. It has been 75 years in which the seed of the Gospel has been planted in territories of the province of Sindh, even remote ones, among tribal populations: a seed that has sprouted and borne fruit. It has been 75 years in which the People of God remember the "great things" that the Lord has done and sing his "magnificat". The celebrations of the "Diamond Jubilee", the 75th anniversary of the foundation of the Archdiocese of Karachi, are taking place in this spirit. They will begin on May 28, Pentecost Sunday, with a solemn Eucharistic Celebration in St. Patrick's Cathedral, presided over by the Archbishop Benny Mario Travas.
Events, meetings and jubilee celebrations will follow in all the parishes of the diocese, for "a time of joy and grace" that will last a year. In the video message sent to the faithful, Archbishop Benny Mario Travas asks them to "participate in a spirit of conversion and gratitude". "Reflect, rejoice and renew": these are the key words of the Jubilee Year which draws inspiration from the Book of Ezekiel (Ez 36:26) where the Lord says: "I will give you a new heart. I will put a new spirit within you."
In preparation for the solemn opening of the Jubilee Year, a Eucharistic Adoration will be held on 25 May in the cathedral of Saint Patrick and in all the churches of the Archdiocese, while the following day a concert of songs in various languages, again in the cathedral, will be a moment to pray and praise God through music.
On May 27, the solemn Vigil of Pentecost will bring together the faithful of all the parishes in the mother church, to invoke the gift of the Holy Spirit, so that it can illuminate the path of the community throughout the Jubilee Year, which will be full of meetings and celebrations of liturgical (prayer vigils), spiritual (for young people and families), catechetical (on biblical themes), cultural (with interreligious meetings), charitable (helping poor families) and social (such as the provision of scholarships).
In the past, the Catholic Archdiocese of Karachi was part of the Archdiocese of Bombay, India, but in 1947, when there was the "partition" of India and Pakistan with the birth of the new nation, the ecclesiastical region of Karachi was separated and in 1948 it was erected as an autonomous entity. It was elevated to Archdiocese of Karachi in 1950.
In the Sindh area, Augustian missionaries were the first to set up a mission in the village of Kolachi in the 17th century. Followed by the Discalced Carmelites who worked in the area until 1672, while the Capuchin friars arrived in 1852 and then the Jesuits. In 1934 the Catholic mission was entrusted to the Franciscans.
Today, out of a population of 22 million inhabitants, there are about 189,000 Catholics, 16 parishes, 58 priests (both diocesan and religious), more than 160 nuns working in schools, hospitals, orphanages and other institutions. The local Church has also given birth to a female religious order, the "Franciscan Missionaries of Christ the King" (FMCK) which has founded schools, orphanages, homes for the elderly and disabled and hospitals throughout the country, but also in India and Sri Lanka. The Karachi Church publishes the Urdu-language weekly "Agahi" ("Knowledge") and the English-language weekly "The Christian Voice". The Archdiocese also launched a web television network, Good News TV in February 2009. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 22/5/2023)