LAHORE: Pakistani Bishop who received “pallium” from Pope Francis says it is springtime in Pakistani Church.
Pallium is derived from the Roman pallium or palla– a woollen cloak which is an ecclesiastical vestment in the Roman Catholic Church, originally peculiar to the Pope, but for many centuries bestowed by him on metropolitans and primates as a symbol of the jurisdiction delegated to them by the Holy See.
The new Archbishop of Lahore, His Exc. Mgr. Sebastian Shaw OFM who was among the 24 Archbishops, who received the Pallium from Pope Francis. While talking to Fides-an international news agency he said: We are very grateful to the Holy Father. He has appointed the new Bishop Joseph Arshad in Faisalabad. These are very positive steps for the Church. New leaders and new ideas: the Church of Pakistan needs it. It is a new springtime. We will work together for the progress and growth of the Church in Pakistan.
Mgr. Sebastian Shaw went on to say that: Among the new Bishops there is a common approach; we all look at our situation with hope, trying to cooperate. For example, the commissions for catechesis, liturgy, Caritas, economy will confront each other and will work together. There is human harmony among us. We intend to adopt a methodology of cooperation in all fields.
He went on to state that: the Bishops share the pastoral needs. One of them is the formation of catechists. In Lahore alone we have 300, scattered throughout the territory. Catechists are an important presence, because they live in the midst of people. They are lay people they are our missionaries in the suburbs. Our catechetical Centres are vital points for the local Church and evangelization. These people are important for the formation of the people to the Sacraments such as baptism, confirmation, marriage. The Church organizes formation courses for catechists from all over Pakistan with collaborative inter-diocesan effort.
The new Archbishop of Lahore asserted that an extra concern is education. He said: In Catholic schools, in Lahore alone we have over 800 thousand students, 90% are Muslims. In schools, ‘dialogue of life’ is carried out – a path for the construction of an open, tolerant and pluralistic society, characterized by peaceful coexistence. Through the students, we have contact with families- so schools become our specialized centres of dialogue. Young people are the future of society- we begin from them to build mutual respect among religions in the nation. He expressed gratitude to Islamic clerics in Pakistan for continuing their efforts to promote religious harmony. He specially thanked the Imam of the Grand Mosque in Lahore, Syed Muhammad Abdul Khabir Azad– a great Muslim scholar of Pakistan. In the end the Archbishop of Lahore Mgr. Sebastian Shaw concluded:
Dialogue is the main path for the nation’s future.