A Christian chapel has been inaugurated at the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad. This has happened for the first time in the history of Pakistan, that a public university has a Christian chapel. Archbishop of Islamabad and Rawalpindi inaugurated this chapel on April 15, Sunday. University of Agriculture, Faisalabad is a public research university.
This newly inaugurated chapel of Saint Mary is housed in the central building of the university. On the occasion of its inauguration, Archbishop of Islamabad-Rawalpindi Msgr. Joseph Arshad told the audience: “The presence of a church inside the university enclosure will offer a message of love and harmony throughout the country. Christians will come here to pray for the progress and prosperity of the institute and of the country “.
Archbishop Arshad expressed gratitude towards the University administration for allowing construction of a chapel in the university so that UAF’s Christian students and workers can offer prayers. Msgr. Joseph Arshad quoted the Founder of Nation Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah: “You are free, free to go to your temples, free to go to your mosques or other religious places in this state of Pakistan. You can belong to any religion, caste or creed: this has nothing to do with the business of the State.”
The inauguration ceremony of the Saint Mary’s chapel was attended by University administration and staff. More than 70 Christian workers of the UAF, who live on campus, were also present. On this occasion, Chancellor of the faculty Muhammad Zafar Iqbal, said: “This church was built with the aim of ensuring the religious needs of Christian students and university workers. I believe in inter-religious harmony and in the fact that mosques and churches are both sacred places in which to worship God. A university chapel is a living example of Islamic-Christian brotherhood”.
On May 18, 2017 the foundation stone of the chapel was laid by Msgr. Joseph Arshad. On this occasion, University of Agriculture Faisalabad Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan was also present. He stated that there is a need to uphold inter-faith harmony in the country. He said that a culture of peace, care and love can only be created by means of inter- faith harmony between people from different faiths.
Previously, there was no Christian chapel in universities across the country. This novel chapel covers an area just over 500 square meters and the cost 7.6 million Pakistani Rupees. Diocese of Faisalabad donated 3 million for the project. The proposal of the project received a green signal from the University of Agriculture Faisalabad, after a three year long discussion.: