03/16/2022, 12.44
PAKISTAN
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Akash Bashir's parents grateful for their child as his beatification process begins

by Shafique Khokhar

The ceremony in Lahore cathedral marked seven years since the young man heroically gave his life in 2015 to stop a suicide bomber from entering a church. He is the first Pakistani lay person to be officially recognised as a “servant of God”.

Lahore (AsiaNews) – Yesterday the Catholic Church of Pakistan officially opened the process of beatification and canonisation of Akash Bashir at Lahore’s Sacred Heart Cathedral.

Seven years ago, the young man courageously lost his life stopping a suicide bomber, thus saving hundreds of people.

Fr Amajd Yousuf, episcopal delegate, Fr Refan Fiaz, promoter of justice, and Fr Patrick Samuel, notary, attended the opening session and were sworn in.

On 15 March 2015, Bashir, 20, was a volunteer security guard at St John’s Catholic Church in Youhanabad.

While the faithful gathered for Sunday Lent Mass, two suicide bombers were about to blow themselves up.

One of them was at the entrance to the church when Bashir stopped him. “I will die but I will not let you in” were the young man’s last words before he was killed by the attacker's bomb.

Akash, a young lay man from Lahore, is the first Pakistani Catholic to be recognised as a “servant of God” whose beatification process was authorised by the Holy See.

For this reason, his father, Emmanuel Bashir, told AsiaNews that he is very grateful to God for all the blessings he has given to his family, especially for this son of his.

“To save others he did not renounce his faith, but renounced the world. He makes me proud to be Pakistani,” the father said, a thought shared by the young man’s mother.

She is grateful to “Pope Francis, His Grace Archbishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore, and all the bishops of Pakistan for their efforts for our son and celebrating the joy of this day.”

“We are celebrating Akash's faith, hope and trust in God,” Archbishop Shaw said at the end of the celebration.

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