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By Fr Paul McMahon
The author is a Columban priest from Belfast, Northern Ireland, and tells the story of ‘Angels’ from northern Pakistan, Muslims students, helped a wedding party of Catholics on a night-time journey through a jungle. The article is taken from the December 2012 Newsletter of the Pakistan Mission Unit of the Columbans.
Mr William Raza has been the assistant to the House-in-Charge at the Columban House in Lahore for the last 25 years. Recently he and his extended family formed a wedding party to travel from Lahore with his nephew who was to get married in Karachi. The journey of 1400 kilometers was to bring unexpected adventures and lessons on how God provides angels along the way to look after us. Even in the least expected places!
William, along with the wedding party consisting of 20 family members, men, women and Children, accompanying the groom had hired a small bus to make the journey. Normally it would take 21 hours from Lahore to Karachi but William’s journey was to take much longer.
By Fr Tomás King
Two years ago on 2 March Clement Shahbaz Bhatti, a Catholic and the only Christian member of the Cabinet in Pakistan, was assassinated in Islamabad just after he had left his mother’s house. Recently Fr Tomás King, Coordinator of the Columban Mission Unit in Pakistan, met Gerard Bhatti, a brother of Shahbaz, and wrote this article.
Shahbaz Bhatti was the youngest in a family one sister and five brothers. They were born in the Catholic village of Khuspur, near the city of Faisalabad in the Punjab. Khushpur means ‘Happy Land’. It was named after its founder, Father Felix, a Capuchin missionary, his name being the Latin for ‘happy’. The village was founded in 1900. It is one of 53 such villages founded throughout the country by various missionary congregations, mostly before the partition of 1947. The founding of these villages made a huge impact on the sense of dignity and self-worth of an oppressed group of people. Khushpur has produced two bishops and many priests and sisters. It is also the home of the National Catechists Training Centre.There are 300 families in the village.
Jaclyn, the only sister, was the first-born, followed by Paul, who was appointed Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs after the death of his brother, Peter, Gerard, Sikandar and Shahbaz, whose Christian name was Clement. The family owns four acres of land, now farmed by Sikandar. His mother is still alive while his father, Jacob, died only weeks before his martyrdom. Christian or ‘Western’ names were usually given by the missionaries. The two youngest children being given Sub-continent names maybe reflects the need to fit in as the country gradually became more Islamised.
Despite being implored to the contrary, in his 20s Shahbaz decided not to marry so as to devote his life to the struggle for human rights of the oppressed and for justice and peace, which was a very counter-cultural commitment to make.
By Fr Daniel O’Connor
The author is from New Zealand and was ordained in 1986. This article first appeared in the newsletter of the Pakistan Mission Unit of the Columbans. For many years he has been a long-distance runner.
As part of my Silver Jubilee sabbatical year I spent some time last June 2012 in the Holy Land. Descending out of the dark sky into the lights of Tel Aviv was symbolic. The next day
As I walked through the alleyways and steps of the old city of Nazareth I reminisced that this was where Jesus played, walked, laughed, shed tears and worked for the first 30 years of his life on earth. Seeing children of olive-colored skin playing soccer on the side of the street reminded me that Jesus would have looked like them and played with his friends in those areas and drawn water from ‘Mary’s Well’.
Shahbaz Bhatti interviewed a month before his death in 2011.
Shahbaz Bhatti meeting Pope Benedict XVI in Sept 2010
By Rowena D. Cuanico
Fr Patrick McCaffrey was born in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland in 1944 and ordained in St Eugene’s Cathedral, Derry, on 20 December 1967. He went to Fiji in 1968 and moved to Pakistan when the Columbans opened a mission there in 1979. In 2000 he was transferred to Britain where he worked mainly with Muslims, some of them refugees from the Middle East, in Bradford. He also celebrated Mass regularly there with Pakistani Catholics. He moved back to Fiji and later was again assigned to Pakistan, where he died suddenly on 18 May this year. Rowena Cuanico, from Samar, is a Columban Lay Missionary who worked in Fiji before taking up her present assignment as Coordinator of Columban Lay Missionaries in the Philippines.
Fr Patrick McCaffrey was born in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland in 1944 and ordained in St Eugene’s Cathedral, Derry, on 20 December 1967. He went to Fiji in 1968 and moved to Pakistan when the Columbans opened a mission there in 1979. In 2000 he was transferred to Britain where he worked mainly with Muslims, some of them refugees from the Middle East, in Bradford. He also celebrated Mass regularly there with Pakistani Catholics. He moved back to Fiji and later was again assigned to Pakistan, where he died suddenly on 18 May this year.
Rowena Cuanico, from Samar, is a Columban Lay Missionary who worked in Fiji before taking up her present assignment as Coordinator of Columban Lay Missionaries in the Philippines.
By Gloria Canama
Gloria Canama, from Tangub City, Misamis Occidental, has been a Columban lay missionary in Pakistan lay missionary in Pakistan for almost 20 years. Fr Thomas O’Hanlon, known to his family as ‘Tommy’, was given the name ‘Tanvir’, ‘Enlightened One’, shortly after his arrival in Pakistan in 1982 by an old man. He died unexpectedly in Lahore on 5 June.
By Aurora Cañete Luceña
By Seamus O’Leary
Mariamabad is the place to go if you want to meet Catholics in
By Emma Pabera
Emma Pabera, a Columban lay missionary, has lived in the male-dominated society of Pakistan from 1990-1993. Emma is now working with the Columban Lay Mission Program in the Philippines. Recently she had a chance to revisit the country and see old friends.
By Mercedes Jaudines
Millions of Filipinos are working abroad hoping to help their families. To cope with their loneliness in a foreign land, some fix their attention on their work and some dedicate themselves in Filipino-organized activities.