The restoration works started in April 2018. The armed forces have financed the reconstruction of the place of worship and the adjacent school, where 350 mostly Muslim children study. "Joy and enthusiasm" on the face of Catholics, about 100 families.
Karachi (AsiaNews) - A "great example of peace and interreligious harmony", the church of St. Thomas in Karachi was reopened yesterday for worship after about a year and a half of restoration work paid for by the Pakistani army.
Fr. Anthony Abraz, the parish priest, thanks "the soldiers who rebuilt the church and the adjacent Catholic school. This is a great gift for all of us ".
Army Gen. Major Mohammad Zahid, who was present at the inauguration, said: "We respect the minorities of Pakistan and we thank them for their efforts in the development of the country. The work of renewal and reconstruction is a Christmas gift from the army for the people of this area ".
Great celebrations accompanied the reopening of the church, located in the military area of Malir. Almost 100 Catholic families reside here, sending their children to school in the institution run by the parish. A total of 350 children study in teh restored school, mostly Muslims, up to the eighth grade.
The pastor told AsiaNews that the place of worship needed urgent renovations. For this reason, the diocese has turned to the army for financial support in the restoration work. The military leaders responded with enthusiasm and in April 2018, the same month of the request, work began. Fr Ijaz Hayat, parish priest, reports "the joy of the community, enthusiastic about the idea of going back to church and building the new school building".
Card Joseph Coutts presided over the inauguration ceremony. During the homily he said: "We are really happy to see the smiles on the faces of the people who live here. You are blessed with the house of God. I can feel your enthusiasm and joy in entering the house of the Lord. Yes, this is the house of God, where Jesus, born in a manger, lives among us ".
The General major assures: "We will always support our Christian brothers and sisters at any time in the future they need our help. I wish you a peaceful and blessed Christmas ”. Fr. Abraz added: "We always pray for the peace and prosperity of our Pakistan and for its armed forces, so that they may maintain peace within the borders and outside".