04/12/2021, 16.35
PAKISTAN
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Karachi’s new archbishop Benny Mario Travas takes office

by Shafique Khokhar

Cardinal Coutts welcomed the new archbishop who is taking over from him. Humility and love for those living on the margins will guide the new shepherd.

 

Karachi (AsiaNews) – The new Archbishop of Karachi, Mgr Benny Mario Travas, made his entrance in the archdiocese during a ceremony held in St Patrick's Cathedral.

The prelate thanked God for being chosen and Pope Francis for considering him worthy to take on this task. He pledged that his episcopal ministry will be guided by humility, love for those living on the margins, and above all the calling to be a shepherd with the smell of sheep.

Mgr Travas also thanked the Apostolic Nuncio to Pakistan, Archbishop Christophe Zakhia El-Kassis, and Card Joseph Coutts, who led the Church in Karachi from 2012 to 2021. “He dedicated his whole life to the people of God,” Travas said of his predecessor.

The new archbishop called on the clergy to support him, noting that his ministry needs teamwork. He said he was happy to see many young priests and nuns and promised that he would be a good shepherd for everyone.

“In the Diocese of Multan,” he said in his homily, “there were many wounds that I had to face: the low morale of the clergy, the slanders that fell on our schools, the theft of the diocese's property. In seven years, I learnt to acknowledge these wounds, not hide them, letting people and my priests know that they are there.”

On the feast of Divine Mercy that is celebrated today, “we are invited to look at our wounds,” said Archbishop Travas, and, “for me, also at those of the Archdiocese of Karachi, to see the mercy and love of Jesus, and, like Thomas, cry out ‘My Lord and my God’. We must acknowledge the wounds, love them and take concrete steps to heal them.”

For his part, Card Coutts entrusted the archdiocese to his successor saying that during the past nine years he spent leading the Church in Karachi he did everything he could.

“But I could not have done it without you,” he said addressing the community. “I was a stranger in Karachi and you accepted me. Whenever I conducted a pastoral visit, or performed a confirmation or any other work, you welcomed me wholeheartedly as if I were your own son.

“When I had health problems, I was happy to hear so many say, we are praying for you. I want to thank you for your love, your welcome and your collaboration.”

Nuncio El-Kassis finally invited the chancellor to read the letter of appointment signed by the Pope thus making the installation of the new archbishop effective.

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