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									                              LAHORE LINK
                     Archdiocesan Newsletter
January / February 2002
     No. 31


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!


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

(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


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
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.


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.


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.

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.


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!


Father John Blom who completed 50 years as priest.
Father Adrian Pereira who celebrated 40 years of priesthood.


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.


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.


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:


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.


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


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.
2 …………     Mass at Fatehgarh School, Sialkot.
3 …………     Adah Parish Reception.
4 …………     St. Claudine’s Feast, Jesus & Mary Convent.
6th …………   Priests’ Meeting with Caritas Lahore.
7 …………     Convocation: St. John Vianney Institute.
8 …………     Meeting of new principals.
10 ……….    Mariamabad Reception.
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:

Please send your inspiring news to:
Yaqoob Dass, Editor…Lahore Link…85-D Model Town, Lahore-54700.

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