PAKISTAN – Newly ordained priests bring hope after Easter Sunday terror attack
Just weeks after the deadly Easter Sunday attacks on Christians, Catholics in Pakistan have a reason to rejoice. More than 800 people packed Sacred Heart Cathedral in Lahore where Archbishop Sebastian Shaw ordained five Capuchin friars to the priesthood. The same day, Bishop Benny Travas of Multan ordained another two priests.
Asif Nazir, a local catechist and teacher, declared thr ordinations were “a blessing and gift of God to our Catholic Church and our country.” Local Christians said this was a chance “to bring us happiness, when our land is still in tears from the memorial service of the recent violent attacks. We need prayers so that more courageous young people respond to the call to serve Christ our saviour and work to proclaim the good news of the Gospel to bring harmony, peace, and justice.”
At the ordination Mass, Archbishop Shaw used his homily to urge the new priests “to seek God in life.” He reminded them of Pope Francis’ warning not to be “vain priests” who live for their own pleasures. The archbishop stressed the importance of prayer in a priest’s life and asked the new priests to imitate St. Francis of Assisi, who put his trust completely in the hands of God.“Pray like St. Francis,” he exhorted them. He urged the young priests to strengthen their spiritual life by always making a priority of reading the gospel :
“Listen to the word of God: it will always give you what is suitable for your Capuchin life and it will always give you the advice on what is suitable for your life…. It will also advise you what things you must give up or deny and when you learn to deny things, it will give you the courage … God will give you the power to fulfil your role in the Church.”
Archbishop Shaw praised the parents of the newly ordained priests for their role bringing up their children with love for the Church. “I must salute the parents for the excellent formation of these new priests,” he said.
The new priests are members of the Capuchin order who have being seving in Pakistan since 1888. Their mission includes outreach to people of all religions through schools, health centers, social centers, and partnerships with local government agencies.