The signature collection opened in Lahore, but the young people want to continue in other parishes and dioceses. The archdiocese of Islamabad-Rawalpindi opens beatification cause for Catholic martyr Shahbaz Bhatti, killed for defending Asia Bibi.
Lahore (AsiaNews) - A group of young people from the Focolare Movement has launched a signature collection to inspire their "peers" in Pakistan. The petition began on December 1 in the Peace Hall of the church of St. Joseph in Lahore. Stella John, one of the participants in the province of Punjab, told AsiaNews: "So far at least 500 people, mostly young people, have joined the campaign. We will also bring it to other parishes and dioceses. We hope that this will help to spread the brotherhood on a universal level and inspire a style of life aimed at holiness in our country ".
The girl adds that her "biggest wish in life would be to see a Pakistani saint. Worldwide, more than 20 members of our movement have been proposed for holiness by local bishops ".
The young focolarini told the public the story of Chiara "Luce" Badano, beatified in 2010, who died in 1990 at the age of 18 from bone cancer. The young woman, despite the painful illness that also led her to lose the use of her legs, never stopped smiling and was an example for many other young people. Then the speakers talked about the biggest risks of young people today: the use of drugs and the desire for money.
In Pakistan, the group of focolarini has spread since 1965 thanks to an Italian priest, Fr. Giuliano Ricchiardi. Today, there are seven communities throughout the territory that count about 3 thousand members. In 2016 Fr. Francis Gulzar, vicar general of Lahore, proposed to the throne of the saints the name of Akash Bashir, the security guard who, just 20 years old, in 2015 sacrificed his life to prevent an attacker from entering the Catholic church of St. John Youhanabad. His martyrdom has saved so many Christians. The diocese of Islamabad-Rawalpindi has opened a cause for the martyrdom of Shahbaz Bhatti, a former Christian minister for minorities, assassinated in 2011 for defending Asia Bibi.