Pakistani Catholic Church has declared that 2019 will be “the Year of Peace and Hope”. Archbishop of Islamabad and Rawalpindi diocese Msgr. Joseph Arshad announced this theme during a ceremony of the New Year in Cathedral of Saint Joseph in Rawalpindi. The event was organized to inaugurate theme of 2019.
Archbishop Jospeh Arshad, President of the Pakistani Episcopal Conference, attending the ceremony said that 2018 was a year dedicated to Eucharist. The data revealed that this year 50,000 people received their First Communion.
Msgr. Arshad said: “Let us all continue together to forge a new path of peace, let us light candles of peace and hope amid the darkness of hatred and the anguish of our lives. May the omnipotent Lord give all men and women the strength to break the walls that divide mankind and help us strengthen the bonds of mutual love and understanding of the other “.
Former Regional Coordinator of Caritas Asia, Father Bonnie Mendes told Asia News: “2018 was a better year for religious minorities severely challenged by discriminatory laws and social exclusion”. “After years of waiting, we have been blessed with two gifts: the acquittal of Asia Bibi and a new cardinal. Unfortunately, however, the Christian community has not yet managed to become a powerful political force” he added.
Pakistani Christian Khalid Shahzad appreciated a recent move by Government of Pakistan. Recently, Government of Pakistan has opened a corridor on the Indo-Pak border which will serve as a passage way for Sikh pilgrims to go to the Gurdwara of Kartapur.
“The same should also do with Christians, but the State of Israel does not recognize us and our passports are valid for all countries, except Israel. The protection of minorities is the biggest challenge of Prime Minister Imran Khan. During his first 100 days in power, he did not show much determination in accepting our questions, such as the 5% share in schools and the improvement of [our] social conditions “.