PAKISTAN – Christians united in prayer and deeds
The Week for the Unity of Christians in Pakistan ended with an ecumenical prayer vigil where Christian of different denominations gathered to pray, reflect and share experiences. The four main Christian communities in the country are: the Catholic Church, the Anglican Church (known as the “Church of Pakistan”), the Presbyterian Church and the Salvation Army community.
Archbishop Shaw, head of the Catholic diocese of Lahore, stated that “unity among the Christian Churches in Pakistan is developing year after year” among the baptized both In prayer and in social works, as has happened with doctors working in different hospitals. He added: “Our joint work has grown in times of peace. We have remained united in times of crisis and pain, but it is good that understanding and cooperation can be strengthened more and more. “
Father Inayat Bernard, a Catholic priest, Rector of the Seminary of St. Mary in Lahore said that “since 2012 the four main churches have met regularly and jointly organised the Week of Unity, with prayer meetings, conferences and moments of reflection. We have also set a date to live together in an ecumenical spirit next Christmas. “
Ifran Jamil, Anglican bishop of Lahore, also stressed the importance of reciprocal understanding and harmony: “We Christians have the honor of being ambassadors for Christ. The world expects us to promote peace and harmony among all the nations of the world. Our unity through prayer is visible and encouraging. “
Fr Francis Nadeem, a Franciscan Capuchin priest working in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Lahore, commented: “Meekness is the hallmark of Pakistani Christians, even when they live in difficult times. When we suffer violence with evangelical meekness, it is our response, following Christ’s example: He is the foundation of Pakistan’s Christian faith in the struggle against evil or hatred.”
Christians in Pakistan make up almost 2% of the population (1% are Catholics and 1% of other Christian denominations) and are strongly committed to the development of the country through schools, hospitals and other welfare centers, which are greatly appreciated by the Muslim majority.