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Pope Accepts Invitation to Visit Pakistan this Year

Pope Francis meets Pakistan’s Minister for Shipping and Ports Kamran Michael and Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Yusuf

According to a message received from Vatican by Pakistani media, Pope Francis has accepted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s invitation to visit Pakistan this year.

The invitation on behalf of the Prime Minister was extended by Minister of Shipping and Ports, Kamran Michael and Religious Affairs Minister Sardar Yusuf.

The Pontiff also offered special prayers for Pakistan and Pakistanis who have fallen victim to terrorism.

There are over one million Catholics Christians in Pakistan, which represents less than 1% of the total population.

There are 7 ecclesiastical units in Pakistan comprising 2 archdioceses, 4 dioceses, and one Apostolic Vicariate, all Latin Rite.

Joseph Cordeiro, Archbishop of Karachi, became the first (and thus far only) Pakistani Cardinal elevated to the position by Pope Paul VI on March 5, 1973.

Pope John Paul II received the President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf in a private audience in the Vatican on 30 September 2004. In 2004 President Pervez Musharraf began hosting an annual Christmas dinner as an expression of seasonal goodwill.

For the first time in the country’s history, Shahbaz Bhatti, a Catholic, became the federal minister for minorities in 2008. Bhatti was assassinated February 2011.

Pope Benedict XVI met the Roman Catholic bishops of Pakistan on 19 June 2008. The bishops were in Rome for their ad limina visit.