Karachi’s new Archbishop Benny Mario Travas: my commitment is to foster 'communion'
“The challenge for me will be to work for Communion within the clergy; communion within the parishes; Communion with the Protestant brothers and finally Communion with all the people who live in Pakistan”.
Karachi (AsiaNews) - The faithful of the Archdiocese of Karachi are experiencing mixed feelings of joy and sadness since learning that Pope Francis has appointed a new Archbishop, comments Kashif Anthony Javed, a member of the Commission for interreligious dialogue of the archdiocese to AsiaNews.
Feelings of joy when they heard that Bishop Benny Mario Travas, who served 24 years as a priest in the archdiocese and was later appointed bishop of Multan, is now returning to his archdiocese as archbishop.
Feelings of sadness to hear that Cardinal Joseph Coutts has resigned, as everyone loved being with the humble and kind Archbishop who looks like a Santa Claus and is committed to helping people in need.
AsiaNews also approached the new Archbishop-elect Benny Mario Travas and interviewed him as people in Pakistan and around the world waited for first his words since his appointment as Archbishop.
What are your future plans for the development of archdiocese of Karachi?
First of all, as a humble servant of the Lord, I am thankful to God the Almighty who has chosen me to serve His people as a priest, later as a bishop of Multan Diocese and now as the Archbishop of Karachi.
I believe that the One who has chosen me will guide, strengthen and help me with His Holy Spirit in fulfilling His work. I would like request all the faithful and especially of the Archdiocese of Karachi to pray for me so that I may work following the example of Our Good Shepherd.
The first task I have in front of me is to first build my priestly fraternity so that we are aided more in fulfilling our call of being Shepherds to our people. After that is the task of providing quality education to the poorest in society. I hope to take this challenge on with our lay faithful and provide young people with more opportunities where they are able to better their lives through good education.
How do you feel when you heard that you are going back to a most populated city and to your home diocese as an Archbishop?
After my pastoral ministry in Multan, and the many changes that I had to make in my life, I was ready for anything. Karachi is close to my heart since I grew up here and served for 24 years as a priest and so, I will have to work harder as there are many of my family and friends expecting much from me. But, with the Lords Blessings and the prayers of my faithful, I am ready for the challenge.
What are you plans for education and uplifting the people or the development in different fields?
My predecessors have always given the highest priority to education and I need to walk in their steps. The Archdiocese in Karachi has a network of schools and many of them provide education to the poorest of the poor in society. My hope and challenge will be to concentrate on these schools so that they will have the needed assistance to provide education to the neglected youth of Karachi. Last year, Caritas, Multan had helped in the organization of a Coaching Classes for Youth who were preparing themselves for the CSS Exams. This has been a good experience which also produced results and I hope to provide this possibility to the Youth of Karachi.
As His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Coutts chose his code of mark "harmony" What will you choose?
As the Bishop of Multan, I had already chosen ‘Communion’ as my motto. This word had a lot of depth and meaning; communion takes into context that we are people of different caste, colour, languages and temperaments yet, in spite of this all, we can still be united with each other, this is what we call ‘unity in diversity’. Communion is very much needed in our world of today when society and media seem to divide us into groups fighting each other. The challenge for me will be to work for Communion within the Clergy; communion within the Parishes; Communion among the Protestant brethren and finally Communion with all people living in Pakistan.