06/21/2023, 13.18
PAKISTAN
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Faisalabad: inauguration of a new church dedicated to Saint Anthony

by Shafique Khokhar

The first stone was laid in 2007 by the then local parish priest and Card Joseph Coutts, then bishop of the diocese. Thousands of faithful were present at the ceremony, which was also attended by children from local Catholic schools. For Bishop Indrias Rehmat, God “has granted us courage and resources so that we could complete His house as David and Samuel did".

Okara (AsiaNews) – Card Joseph Coutts, together with Bishop Indrias Rehmat of Faisalabad, inaugurated last week St Anthony Catholic Church in Okara, a district south-east of the city of Lahore.

Thousands of faithful, priests and nuns attended the ceremony and participated in the blessing of the new building with prayers and religious songs.

The first stone was laid in June 2007 by the then parish priest Fr James Archangelus and Card Coutts, at the time bishop of Faisalabad, while construction work was completed under the guidance and support of Bishop Rehmat.

The inauguration ceremony included a solemn Mass with the participation of the children of the Catholic schools of the diocese, who brought offerings and sang religious hymns.

Villagers danced to the rhythm of drums and admired the beauty of the church. A statue of Saint Anthony was installed between the two main pillars. The space in front of the building was crowded with faithful.

“Today is a day of gratitude to God for He has granted us courage and resources so that we could complete His house as David and Samuel did for the synagogue," Bishop Indrias Rehmat said.

“We also celebrate the feast of Saint Anthony, who is not only the saint of this parish but of this village also. He is known as a saint of miracles; therefore, we often call on him for our healings and pray for manifold blessings in our lives. Let us work together for the development of this parish and invite more people to the house of God,” the prelate added.

“I ask you to become a light for others through your deeds and your church. I am very grateful to everyone who supported us, especially those who have financially contributed to the construction of this church. Let us keep working for His glory and happiness.”

Card Coutts thanked Fr James Archangelus "who laid the foundation stone with me years ago and put his heart into building and beautifying the church”.

“Today we can see his efforts for this church. I am truly happy to see you all in this church, completed in so many years. Today I have to ask you to follow in the footsteps of Saint Anthony and help the poor and bring happiness and joy into their lives as he did.

“This church reminds us to stay in touch with God and the Holy Spirit and to always ask for His richest blessings for everyone. This is the best way to keep united and help each other, confident that our God will always bless us if we work for His happiness and for the joy of His people on Earth."

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