Monday, January 07, 2013

Faisalabad: 25 years of Parish of the Assumption, built thanks to Muslims

http://www.asianews.it/files/img/size2/PAKISTAN_(F)_0103_-_Celebration_of_25th_Jubilee_of_Arooj-5.JPGA parish founded thanks to the will - and funding - of Christians and Muslims in Pakistan, is celebrating 25 years since its foundation. 

To commemorate the event, the faithful have contributed to the construction of a small grotto in which to meet and pray. It is the story of Arooj-e-Mariam (Our Lady of the Assumption, ed), parish church in Chak district 7 in Faisalabad, Punjab province, where there is a greatest presence of Christians in the country. And as pointed out by its first priest, present at the celebrations, it contains "precious memories" to be delivered to future generations.

Interviewed by AsiaNews, Fr. Barnard, the first pastor of Arooj-e-Mariam remembers drawing up "the gorund plans for this church with a lot of passion," and the building was made possible thanks "to the financial support of the Christian and Muslim communities." 

He speaks of "many wonderful memories" related to the years in the parish and does not hide his "great happiness for the celebrations for its 25th anniversary."

Happiness and satisfaction are also expressed by Msgr. Rufin Anhtony, bishop of Islamabad / Rawalpindi and apostolic administrator of Faisalabad, about the time "of the true faith," despite "the great difficulty" facing the country these days. 

The prelate said that "Jesus is among us, so we should not be afraid." Finally, the call to "build more churches" and to pray to the Virgin Mary, who played a "leading role" in the history of salvation.

Fr. Nisar Barkat, current pastor, speaks of his profound "spiritual joy" and thanks "almighty God and all the people" who "helped me to make this parish so beautiful" and "build the grotto in the Church."

On 21 December, the eve of Christmas, a solemn mass was held at the opening ceremony of the grotto, which was attended by hundreds of faithful. 

Leading the celebrations there was the bishop of Islamabad / Rawalpindi, joined by priests, nuns and press who widely reported on the anniversary. 

The church was decorated with flowers, garlands, banners and balloons. 

During Mass, enhanced by the local choir, Msgr. Rufin Anthony also bestowed the sacrament of Confirmation on a group of parishioners.

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