The man appointed to be archbishop of Pakistan's largest diocese has said he wishes to dedicate his ministry to the cause of justice and peace – which he says are desperately needed in his country.
people to pray that he has "courage and faith" as he takes up his post,
Archbishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore said there was an urgent need to
"conscientise" people about harmony and civil rights.
Speaking from Lahore in an interview with Aid to the Church in Need,
Archbishop Shaw, a Franciscan, said inter-faith cooperation, ecumenical
dialogue and outreach via television and other communications were key
to the development of social harmony. He said these themes would be
reflected in the ceremony of his installation on Friday (14 February) at
a packed ceremony at Lahore's Sacred Heart Cathedral, led by Archbishop
Edgar Pena Parra, Apostolic Nuncio to Pakistan, and attended by all the
Archbishop Shaw, who has been the diocese's Apostolic Administrator
since Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha stepped down in 2011, said: "There is
not much peace in Pakistan. Therefore we need all the more to
conscientise people, so that people feel the need for peace. They will
see that peace comes when people have justice."
"What we need is to learn to respect one another – to realise that we
are all Pakistanis, whether we are Muslims, Christians, Sikhs or
The archbishop, whose diocese has as many as 600,000 faithful –
approaching half the total number of Catholics in the country – said he
was committed to stepping up meetings with other faith leaders, as well
as training programmes for teachers, catechists, parents and women so
that they are more aware of their rights and responsibilities.
The archbishop said: "There is an urgent need for greater equality
and social justice and for peace. The Church should be a visible sign of
our commitment to this and we can only move forward by lives of
In a reference to the ongoing persecution and discrimination suffered
by Christians and other religious minorities in Pakistan, notably
Ahmadiyyas and Shiite Muslims, Archbishop Shaw appealed for prayer,
saying: "Please pray that I may have courage and faith."
The archbishop spoke about plans for 'Catholic TV Lahore', a cable
channel initiative he hopes will 'go live' about the time of his
installation, with programmes broadcast 12 or more hours a day. The
programme schedule includes catechesis, marriage counselling, guidance
on good parenting, women's rights, the Sacraments and the rosary. The
Archbishop himself hopes to have a regular slot on the channel.
Support for persecuted and other suffering Christians in Pakistan is a
priority for Aid to the Church in Need which helps with Christian
education (catechesis) for young people, Mass stipends for priests,
training for seminarians, Child's Bibles and other Catholic education
materials, Catholic media projects (radio and newspapers) and new