05/29/2023, 11.43
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Karachi archdiocese celebrates 75 years. Archbishop Travas: 'A new heart for all'

by Shafique Khokhar

On the Solemnity of Pentecost, the celebration of the Diamond Jubilee began. The archbishop's warning: 'We have always worked not for our own profit, but for the development and progress of the entire country. Let us not look outside to condemn and belittle others, but let us renew ourselves by putting Jesus at the centre'.

Karachi (AsiaNews) - With a solemn Eucharistic celebration presided over on the parvis of Saint Patrick's Cathedral by Archbishop Benny Mario Travas, the Catholic Church in Karachi began celebrations for its Diamond Jubilee on the Solemnity of Pentecost, marking 75 years since its foundation.

Thousands of people from all walks of life - together with Card. Joseph Coutts, Archbishop Emeritus of Karachi, the bishops of the other dioceses of Pakistan, priests and nuns - gathered for this great event and prayed for the archdiocese, animating the celebration with songs, hymns and prayers.  Pope Francis also wished to send a message of good wishes to the archdiocese on the occasion.

With the creation of Pakistan in 1947, the diocese of Karachi was separated from the archdiocese of Bombay and made a separate entity on 28 May 1948. It was then elevated to the rank of archdiocese on 15 July 1950. In these 75 years, the Catholic community has grown with the city: today it has 15 parishes serving a metropolis with a population of over 22 million.

In Karachi, the Catholic Church, alongside its pastoral service, has played a vital and significant role in the metropolis and in the development of Pakistan in the fields of education and healthcare. Since its creation, it has founded as many as 62 new schools that have trained generations of personalities in the Catholic community, but also in Pakistani society as a whole.

The Holy Family Hospital (founded in 1948) is one of the oldest hospitals offering medical care to the people of Karachi. Not forgetting Darul Sukun the 'House of Peace' founded in 1969 to welcome children and adults with physical and mental disabilities and men and women in poverty or other needs. And then the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre, which has been offering leprosy treatment and a rehabilitation centre, free of charge for patients, since 1956.

'Reflect, Rejoice and Renew' is the theme chosen for the celebrations that will last an entire year," explained Vicar General Fr Edward Joseph. "It is an invitation to give thanks for the journey accomplished but also to 'continue to work for the diocese with joy, regardless of the circumstances, because our hope is in the Lord'. "We ask God to give us a new heart and a new spirit," Archbishop Travas commented in his homily, who also invited people to ask the Lord for forgiveness and to forgive each other for the mistakes made over the past 75 years.

Archbishop Travas recalled, "The archdiocese has always welcomed all the ethnic groups that have come to the diocese, demonstrating its love for diversity and acceptance of others. Catholic means universal; the heart of the archdiocese of Karachi has been the heart of the suffering; the diocese, thanks to the work of its local and foreign missionaries, has built many institutions for the care of those who suffer in society, such as orphans, lepers, the physically and mentally disabled, drug addicts and so on. The diocese has not worked for its own profit, but for the development and progress of the entire country'.

But the present time also calls the Church in Karachi to new challenges. "Let us not look outside to condemn and belittle others," the archbishop said, "but let us look within to show love and compassion. If we really want to bring about new positive changes in our diocese, we must put the face of Jesus at the centre, because only He can guide us".

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