Interfaith Christmas celebrations meant to clamp interfaith harmony says Pakistani priest

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In a special event held marking the festivity of Christmas and Eid Milad un Nabi, Lahore’s Franciscans and Muslims clerics put on a fine show of solidarity with each other. In this regard, Father Victor Sawera OFM, who had organized this event, said that such event nurture good Muslim-Christian relations as people from both faiths participate in the major holidays of each other’s’ religions.

Christmas celebrations in Lahore

This event was marked by the Christmas celebrations by Muslim clerics and Eid Milad un Nabi celebrations by Christian priest. At this occasion the member of the two communities exchanged Christmas and Eid Milad un Nabi greetings with each other.

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Father Victor Sawera in a note sent to Fides stated: “We read passages from the Bible and the Koran. Some Islamic clerics offered the evening prayer in the chapel of the Franciscan center. There were several imams such as Syed Abdul Khabir Azad, Imam of the Royal Mosque in Lahore, who appreciated the celebration of the Prophet’s birthday in a Christian home: this can be an example to all citizens of Pakistan.”

“Interfaith dialogue and the promotion of peace and harmony are in the DNA of Franciscan spirituality and are indispensable today,” he emphasized by concluding “the urgent need to work harder to build peace and harmony among nations and religions. For us Franciscans, to be bridges of peace is a vocation.”

Observing the same spirit of festivity and love, Embassy of Pakistan in Italy had held Christmas celebrations ceremony which was attended by local Pakistanis including Christians and Muslims. On this occasion of Pakistani Ambassador Nadeem Riyyaz hosted the celebration. Pakistani seminarians, nuns and priests studying in Rome were invited at this event, as well as members of the general councils of religious congregations who have homes or missions in Pakistan also attended this celebration.

During this function, attendees sang Christmas carols in Urdu, Punjabi, Italian and English. Father Robert McCulloch, Procurator General of the Missionary Society of St. Columban, extended his gratitude towards the Pakistani Ambassador Riyyaz for hosting the Christmas party. He also expressed his sincere and heartiest wishes for the occasion of Eid-e-Milad-ul-Nabi.

This was the fifth consecutive year when Christmas is celebrated at the Embassy of Pakistan in Italy. Tradition of celebrating Christmas at the Embassy of Pakistan in Italy was started by Ambassador Tehmina Janjua. She started this tradition with an intention of working to uphold religious harmony.