Postage for Pakistan and other parts of the planet

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Good news from Pakistan!

If you're like me, and you hear news coming out of Pakistan concerning Christians, you automatically think, 'Oh, no. Another Christian accused of blasphemy,' or 'Lord, help us. Who was gunned down in the streets this time?'
So when a priest friend of mine, Fr. Simon Khurshid, sent me the following, I rejoiced. It may not seem like big news, but in a country where Christians and other religious minorities are less than second class citizens, it's very big, indeed. My first experience with Pakistan was when I learned of a Catholic bishop publicly immolating himself to protest mistreatment by the nation's majority Muslim population. God rest his soul for this unfortunate act, but it shows how desperate the people there can get.

In recent years, we've learned of Shabaz Bhati and victims of the country's insane blasphemy law such as Asia (pro. "Aa-see-yah") Bibi.

Asia Bibi
Then there was that poor young teenage girl who was shot in the head for speaking out against the Taliban and for women's rights, although she is a Muslim and not a religious minority.

So you can see why any good news is cause for celebration.Therefore, without further ado, here it is:

132 Young Catholics Blessed
with Sacraments of Confession & Holy Communion,
Immaculate Conception Parish, Toba Tek Singh, Pakistan

The First Sunday of Advent 2012 was celebrated with great joy at Immaculate Conception Parish as 132 young Catholics were blessed with the sacraments of Confession and First Holy Communion.

On Sunday morning, the Church was packed with children, their parents, and other Church members from rural and urban areas. The sacrament aspirants came before the Mass and queued up with their gifts to offer on the occasion.

Nimar Masih, a 12 year old aspirant said, “I cannot express my feelings in words. Our Catechist had been visiting our school for the last six months to teach the importance of sacraments in our life. He was used to teach with simple and day to day examples of our life. I was very excited to receive the Holy Communion. It was my dream. Now I am thankful to my parents, teachers, Catechist and priest to guide me to be prepared for this day. I pray that God enlightened our minds & hearts to witness the Gospel values in Pakistan”

Mukhtarian Bibi, 56 a mother six said, “The Advent season has brought endless joy and happiness, on Nov 29, 2012, my children were blessed with sacrament of confession and December 2nd, they were blessed with sacrament of Holy Communion. It’s a like a feast day.  Another great day is fast approaching, that is December 8, 2012, feast of my parish (Immaculate Conception) and Bishop Ruffin Anthony will bless 132 children with sacrament of Confirmation. What a day it will be!”

Rev. Fr. Shamas Simon, Rev. Fr. Abid Saleem (a local OMI priest serving in Quetta, Diocese) were the Mass celebrants. Parish pastored Rev. Fr. Simon Khurshid welcomed the sacrament aspirants, their parents, and other Church members and gave an introduction of the Mass. He hailed the services of his team of Sisters of Religious of Jesus & Mary (RJM), teachers, and catechists who worked tirelessly to make the event a success.

Rev. Fr. Shamas Simon asked basic questions from the sacrament aspirants about sacraments and their importance in one’s life. He repeated the story of Jesus, where He stressed His followers to pray together and remember the Last Supper and being a Catholic Holy Communion is vital to receive.

Church members and sacrament aspirants offered special gifts to the priests. Choirs presented theme-based hymns and altar servants decorated the Church with beautiful seasonal flowers. Tehsil Municipal Administration made special arrangements to clean the church boundaries and adjoining roads.

Children from the following schools and villages blessed with sacraments:

·         Convent of Jesus & Mary
·         Green Leaf Elementary
·         Grace Charity
·         St. Peter’s
·         Vision for the Future
·         Brighter Future
·         Village Number,  327 J.B, Bhalair
·         Village Number, 328 J. B. 
·         Village Number, 323 J.B, Tarandi
·         Village, Eban.

The program ended with a delicious meal. 
Reported by,
Ashfaq Fateh
Immaculate Conception Parish,
Toba Tek Singh  

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