At the end of the service they carried a wooden cross in the Cathedral’s vast compound led by Mgr Joseph Coutts, bishop of Faisalabad. After he addressed the gathering songs from the Christian repertory were performed by various choirs from the diocese. At the final moment the pilgrims fixed the cross on a stage and everyone placed flowers at its sides.
For Fr Aftab James Paul, who organised the event, World Youth Day is one of the most important events for the universal Church and “it was right for our youth to take part in this event from so far away, so that they could in communion with the Pope and all the pilgrims who had gathered in Sydney.”
Bishop Coutts said “we should continue our activities and be a part of that great event even in our own country” and thus “show solidarity to the Pope and the youth gathered in Sydney.”
“This was the first event of its kind in Faisalabad,” said Fr Nisar Barkat. Hopefully, it will be a new tradition that “continues in coming years.”
Young Pakistani Catholics can thus “bear witness to the mission,” several diocesan priests said, adding that they would like to see the cross blessed by the bishop “travel through all three regions of the diocese” as a symbol of the Cross “Pope John Paul II handed over the youth” to carry around the world.