27 January, 2015 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 05/10/2012
PAKISTAN
Faisalabad remembers Bishop John Joseph, "martyr" of the blasphemy law
A religious ceremony was held to mark the 14th anniversary of the prelate's death. He has become a symbol of peace and justice, playing a prophetic role for Pakistan's Christian community.

Faisalabad (AsiaNews) - Bishop John Joseph's contribution in the areas of religion, human rights, peace and coexistence was recently remembered in Faisalabad cathedral, 14 years after his death. More than 600 people attended the ceremony: priests, nuns, catechists, educators, student, social workers, political workers and representatives of civil society organisations.

Mgr John Joseph, bishop of Faisalabad, was closely involved in human and religious rights. He had been fighting religious intolerance, especially discriminatory election laws and the blasphemy legislation, for many years.

In order to highlight his arguments and bring injustice to the attention of the world, he committed suicide on 6 May in a court in Sahiwal, where a Catholic man, Ayub Masih, had been convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death.

Although the bishop took his own life (he had been suffering from depression for some time), he is a martyr of the faith for many Pakistani Christians.

Beside prayers for the soul of the late prelate, the memorial Mass in Mgr John Joseph's honour included speeches, poetry readings and religious chants. All those present said they would continue the mission of the "martyr bishop" under the supervision of Fr Khalid Rashid Asi, vicar general of the diocese.

"Bishop John Joseph had leadership and communication skills," Fr Samuel George said. "He knew the art of how to mobilise and motivate people. The martyrdom of Bishop John Joseph gives us power and motivation to lead a life in his footsteps, and lay down our lives in a time of crucible and suffering, as a good shepherd does for his sheep. He had deep feelings in his heart for the poor and marginalised groups, and was always ready to take away their sufferings."

"Commemorating the 14th death anniversary of martyr bishop is the proof that people still love him as a true and sincere leader," Fr Khalid Rashid Asi told AsiaNews. "He was the symbol of peace and justice, and he played a prophetic role for the Christian community. Bishop John Joseph was an expert in promoting interfaith dialogue, and introduced the term of interfaith dialogue in Faisalabad Diocese after Pope John Paul II. We learn from his martyrdom how we can raise our voice against cruelty, injustice and violence."

Speaking to AsiaNews, Fr Nisar Barkat, diocesan director of National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) said, "We cherish the memories of the martyr bishop for his great contribution towards human rights, peace-building, co-existence and harmony. He is remembered as a bridge creating spaces for different communities to interact with each other peacefully. He used to provide a platform for people from different backgrounds to seek ways to lead their lives as a good neighbour. He formed the NCJP in 1985 in order to struggle for justice and peace, and we are still determined to carry on his mission towards protecting the rights of religious minorities in Pakistan."

"Bishop John Joseph was not only a religious leader, but a social and political leader as well," said Christian parliamentarian Joel Amir Sahotra. "He had a firm grasp of religious, social and political affairs, and had the wisdom to solve all problems. His sacrifice left a leadership gap within Christian community which can never be filled because his capabilities were matchless and unbeatable."

At the end of the ceremony, all the participants visited Bishop John Joseph's final resting place. They lit candles and laid a floral wreath on his grave to pay tribute to and show respect for the great leader. They also offered special prayers for the solidarity, progress and prosperity of the country and the welfare of the people in general and religious minorities in particular.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
05/08/2007 PAKISTAN
Bishop John Joseph, “a powerful voice breaking the silence”
05/06/2006 PAKISTAN
Mgr John Joseph, blasphemy martyr, remembered
by Qaiser Felix
12/21/2007 CHINA – VATICAN
New bishop of Ningxia only ordained by prelates approved by the Pope
08/14/2007 PAKISTAN
Minorities demand equal rights as country celebrates independence
by Qaiser Felix
01/05/2012 PAKISTAN
Pakistani Christians remember Salman Taseer as extremists celebrate his assasin
by Jibran Khan

Editor's choices
IRAQ
The children of Mosul and the future: the "five-star" refugee camp
by Bernardo CervelleraIn the garden of the parish of Mar Elia beside the tents there are containers that serve as classrooms for the children and as a library. Another serves as a room for sewing. A children's choir. Fr. Douglas: "Taking care of refugees does not just mean thinking about eating, drinking, medicines, injections, vaccinations ... The displaced persons need to do something and to cultivate hope."
IRAQ
Way of the Cross: the refugees from Mosul beyond the emergency
by Bernardo CervelleraThere are at least half a million people who have taken refuge in Kurdistan to flee from ISIS. In the Shlama Mall at Erbil: 350 people living in the skeleton of a building under construction, with draped sheets and blankets serving as walls. The ordination of a young man, also a refugee, shows that with the flight, there is something that has not been destroyed: the faith, the traditions, the priesthood.
IRAQ - VATICAN
As 'Adopt a Christian from Mosul' continues, Mosul bishop notes that Jesus is born amid refugee containers
by Amel NonaPersecuted by the Islamic state, refugees have lost everything: belongings, home, jobs, school, and their future. Yet, their faith and mission remain strong. For them, almost 900,000 euros have been raised and sent. Pope Francis sends a message of closeness. The campaign continues according to the Patriarch of Baghdad's proposal of fasting and moderation at Christmas and New Year, with the money saved offered to the Christians of Mosul.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.