Bishop Shaw urges the faithful to be heralds of hope during the pandemic
by Shafique Khokhar

The Archbishop of Lahore calls on people to celebrate Christmas during the pandemic in a very simple way. Tuesdays are special days dedicated to boosting spiritual strength and faith. The first one is for prayer, the second for penance, and the third for alms.

Lahore (AsiaNews) – Archbishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore (pictured) released a message in which he urges the faithful to follow government instructions and save themselves and others from the second wave of COVID-19.

In his message, the prelate also stresses two important goals, namely “saving humanity and saving the faith,” especially during the ongoing pandemic.

For this Christmas, he stressed the need to celebrate the event with great spiritual zeal but in a very simple way: When going to church, worshippers must follow all regulations, wear the mandatory mask and maintain the necessary social distance.

Every Tuesday must be a special day to boost spiritual strength and faith. The first Tuesday was a day of prayer. Last Tuesday, 8 December, was the Day of Prayer in which “The feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mother Mary” was celebrated.

On this day, the faithful were called pray to Mary and ask her how she helped the family in Cana, at the wedding, and how she can help us the same way so that we can be saved from the ongoing pandemic.

For Walter Shalim, a young man from Lahore, all the parishes followed the message of the archbishop of Lahore, and held special prayer services, praying for each other and for everyone in Pakistan and around the world.

The second Tuesday will be a day of penance. Archbishop Shaw designated next Tuesday, 15 December, as the Day of Penance in which everyone is invited to pray and fast. He also said that we must ask for deliverance from our sins so that we can receive God's mercy.

The third Tuesday will be an alms day. Tuesday 22 December will thus be Alms Day. On that day, people are invited to help those around them, especially those affected by COVID-19, who, because they lost their jobs or for economic reasons, are unable to celebrate Christmas.

In his message Archbishop Shaw insisted that people follow the instructions issued by the World Health Organisation and by the government, urging them not to leave home without a good reason. He stressed that everyone should wear a face mask and when they go home, they should wash their hands and use a sanitiser.

Finally, in a blessing for the faithful, he said: “May God protect you, your household, and our country Pakistan from COVID-19, and save you all from all the hardships so you may all be able to celebrate the Christmas season.”