LAHORE LINK Archdiocesan Newsletter January / February 2002 No. 31 A NEW BASANT Basant is around the corner, the cold has subsided and a fresh feeling of spring is in the air. Could it presage a new Basant (spring) for our land and our Church? On the national scene, war clouds have disappeared and new vistas are opening out after the brave speech of President Musharraf. The restoration of joint electorates brought great joy and hope. We pray that his bold vision to make Pakistan a modern and progressive state where all can enjoy equal rights will become a reality. Another joyful sign of a new basant is the safe return of the nationalized schools after thirty years of “exile”. The transition went smoothly and most of the schools are picking up momentum thanks to the fresh new principals and staff. I must express my sincere appreciation to the persistent efforts of Fr. Mani, Mr. Cecil Chaudhry and Mr. Maxwell Shanti. And I must thank all the sisters and fathers involved in the take-over operation. Finally, Basant is associated with youth and new life and I am glad to say that the youth consultative committee has been meeting and working out ways and means of revitalizing the youth ministry in the Archdiocese. It calls for a participatory process and with your help and prayers, it will take concrete shape in the coming months. Come Holy Spirit and breathe new life and creativity in our church! MULTI FAITH VIGIL FOR PEACE In preparation for the great World Day of Prayer at Assisi, a unique multi-faith prayer vigil was held on January 23 for the first time at Lahore’s Catholic Cathedral, which was packed with about 800 people of different faiths. The vigil was presided over by Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha – seated with him were representatives of four living faiths: Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Parsi. They recited prayers for peace according to their own traditions. The choirs sand beautiful songs for peace. Two young Muslim students from “Seed of Peace” group shared their visions of peace and children brought up symbols of peace, e.g. a pair of doves and a white flag. Later the doves were taken out and released by the religious leaders in a symbolic gesture. After the service, the people greeted each other jubilantly and requested that this inter-faith peace initiative should continue in the future. LENTEN PASTORAL LETTER CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF PAKISTAN (to be read out in churches on 17th Feb 2002) We invite you to observe with great devotion the holy season of Lent, by prayer, fasting and self-denial, in order to worthily prepare for the great feast of Easter. In this letter, we would like to offer some thoughts on the deeper meaning of keeping the fast in the Christian tradition. Together with prayer and works of charity, the Christian fast is an important aspect of Lent. If carried out voluntarily in a spirit of penance, it can be a great means of inner purification and spiritual renewal. In our Christian tradition, fasting must not be just to abstain from food and drink – it should avoid all sinful pleasures and be accompanied by works of mercy and justice. As it is clearly stated by the prophet Isaiah (58: 6-7). This year we would like to stress the importance of the annual Caritas Lenten collection which usually takes place all over the world on the fourth Sunday of Lent (March 10th). In this campaign, the faithful of all countries put aside the money that they save from their Lenten fasting and acts of sacrifice and offer the money saved to a central Caritas Lenten fund to improve the standard of living of poor communities all over the world. This year the theme of the Lenten campaign in Pakistan is “CURTAILING CHILD LABOUR THROUGH SKILLS TRAINING”. By this it is intended that poor children in Pakistan will be taught some trade or skill that will help them to stand on their own feet. This year, we urge that the Lenten fast should be kept with a view to bring God’s blessing of peace for the whole world and also national solidarity and social harmony in our own country. With blessings and best wishes, Yours Shepherds in Christ, The Catholic Bishops of Pakistan Dated : 1 Feb 2002 FAREWELL 2001… WELCOME 2002 It is a custom to conclude the year with a Thanksgiving Service in the Sacred Heart Cathedral. The celebration was presided by Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha who gave an appropriate and impressive homily for the occasion. The focus of the celebration was the lighting of 12 red candles, symbolizing the 12 months of the year. Two teenagers, a boy and a girl, lit the candles one after the other, as a short refrain was sung for each month. As all candles were lit, the whole gathering felt a new hope and the New Year was entrusted to the Lord. The second symbol was the blessing of two calendars. As our life as Catholics, priests and religious, moves around the social and the liturgical calendars, it was very appropriate for the Archbishop to bless two calendars presented to him by two small girls. At the end, all wished each other a grace filled New Year 2002. A DREAM COMES TRUE It was a hope-filled beginning of the New Year. On January 5, 2002, ten schools were denationalized and quietly taken back by the Catholic Board of Education. They began functioning smoothly under the newly appointed principals and staff. The schools are: Sacred Heart Cathedral Boys School, Don Bosco School, St. Joseph’s School-Lahore Cantt, St. Lawrence’s School-Gulberg, St. Mary’s School-Jamke Cheema, St. Anthony’s boys School-Sialkot City, St. Vincent’s Primary School-Pasrur, St. Paul’s Primary School-Narowal, St. Mary’s School- Sheikhupura and Shauk-e-Ilm Primary School-Bhai Pheru. YOUTH CONSULTATIVE TEAM Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha has set up a youth consultative team consisting of Father Joseph Shahzad (coordinator), Brother Roderick (assistant coordinator) and Miss Nasira Samuel (youth leader). They will start by visiting the parishes, meeting the Parish Priest and the pastoral team and finding out what are the existing youth activities in the parish and how to promote them. SCHOOL VISITATION To promote Catechism teaching in the Catholic Schools, Dar-ul-Kalam team visited following schools during the month of January, 2002: 1. St. Joseph’s School – Lahore Cantt. 2. St. Mary’s School – Nishat Colony, Lahore Cantt. 3. Mariam Sadeeqa School – Dogaich, Lahore Cantt. 4. St. Paul’s School – Green Town, Lahore. 5. St. Mary’s School – Gulberg, Lahore. During the teachers’ meeting, Mr. Yaqoob Dass stressed that the religion teachers must teach with interest and dedication for the spiritual formation of our Christian students. WELCOME TO PRIESTS, OLD AND NEW On December 1st, 2001 a tall and burly friar named Bernard Bhatti OFM became the first priest to be ordained by Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha at the Cathedral. Father Bernard who hails from St. Anthony’s Parish – Lahore, is assigned to Dar-ul-Naim. We warmly welcome him to the Archdiocese and pray that God May bless his ministry abundantly. Father Joseph Nisari, a senior priest, has returned to the Archdiocese after a long absence in U.S.A. He will start by taking over the editorship of Catholic Naqib this month and gradually will take up other pastoral responsibilities. Welcome home Fr. Joe! CONGRATULATIONS Father John Blom who completed 50 years as priest. Father Adrian Pereira who celebrated 40 years of priesthood. CONDOLENCE Father Daniel O’Connor whose father expired in New Zealand at the grand age of 97. Father Samuel George whose beloved father expired on January 2, 2002 in Khushpur at the age of 81. WORLD DAY OF THE SICK Pastoral care of the sick and the elders people is an important part of the mission of the Church. That is why, every year special World Day of sick is observed on Feb, 11. This year it is hoped that parishes will make a special efforts express their love and concern for sick and suffering people, both in basties and in the hospitals. It is also good occasion to appreciate the services of the doctors and nurses who look after the patients. PRISON MINISTRY There are about 550 Christian Prisoners, mostly foreigners, in Kot Lakhpat jail, Lahore. On Christmas Day, they got permission to hold 2 Holy Masses for them which were celebrated by Fr. Roy. If there are any religious or others who would like to share this ministry they should contact Sr. Anna Maria who is coordinator for this. Rs. 12,000/- were spent to give them a decent meal. Sr. Anna’s E-Mail Address is: email@example.com. ECUMENICAL CONFERENCE – 2002 The National Commission for Inter-religious dialogue and Ecumenism organized an all Pakistan Ecumenical Conference for religious leaders of Pakistan at Caritas Hall on 18-1-2002. More than 200 religious leaders, bishops, priests, pastors, nuns, catechists and directors of various Church institutions were present to pray for religious and social harmony among Christians. Two main speakers Fr. Emmanuel Asi and Bishop Alexander John Malik stressed to forget about the past differences and work jointly for the effective evangelization. Fr. Inayat Bernard read out the messages of Papal Nuncio and the Bishops. At the end, the secretary of NCIDE, Fr. Francis Nadeem thanked the chief guest and all the participants. MISSION SUNDAY COLLECTION The collection from Archdiocese of Lahore for Mission Sunday 2001 amounted to a grand total of Rs 75,000/- which was sent to National Director of Pontifical Missionary Societies, Fr. Mario Rodrigues. We thank all those who contributed to this record contribution for world missions. May God bless the generous givers! NEW ECCLESIASTICAL BOUNDARIES On 7th December 2001, His Holiness Pope John Paul II erected the new Apostolic Prefecture of Quetta, which coincides with the vast Province of Baluchistan. Rev Fr. Victor Gnanapragsam OMI, a Sri Lankan missionary since 1973, is appointed the first Apostolic Prefect. This is the first change in the ecclesiastical map since 1960. We offer Fr. Victor and all his community our sincere congratulations! We condole with them for the passing away of Rev. Fr. Alfred. Official Appointment: Father Joseph Nisari – Editor, Catholic Naqib. Archbishop’s Engagements February - 2002 1st …………. Meeting with Japanese Bishops Don Bosco School Feast. Blessing of Mianapura Church, Sialkot. nd 2 ………… Mass at Fatehgarh School, Sialkot. rd 3 ………… Adah Parish Reception. th 4 ………… St. Claudine’s Feast, Jesus & Mary Convent. 6th ………… Priests’ Meeting with Caritas Lahore. th 7 ………… Convocation: St. John Vianney Institute. th 8 ………… Meeting of new principals. th 10 ………. Mariamabad Reception. th 16 ………. Nurses Apostolate Meeting. Mass at Bagey Road, St. Anthony’s Parish. 23rd ……… St. Anthony’s II: Prize Distribution. th th 24 /25 ……… Confirmations at Narowal. March – 2002 2nd ………. Final Profession: St. John of God Sister. 3rd ………. Blessing of Church in Salamatpura, Lahore Cantt. 8th ………. Election – Chapter – FTL, Lahore. 10th/11th…….. Confirmations at Narowal. 17th …….. Confirmations at St. Francis Church, Kot Lakhpat. 19th …….. Feast of St. Joseph’s School, Thornton Road, Lahore. 24th-31st Holy Week at Cathedral. Lahore Link is now available on the website of the Archdiocese of Lahore: www.rcarchdioceselahore.org.pk Please send your inspiring news to: Yaqoob Dass, Editor…Lahore Link…85-D Model Town, Lahore-54700.