Though seemingly unremarkable, the village of Khushpur is sometimes described as Pakistan’s Vatican. It is the heart of the Catholic Church in Pakistan: this one parish has produced two bishops, over 35 priests, and hundreds of brothers and sisters. The National Formation Center for Catechists is also in Khushpur; catechists from all over the country are trained there.
And one of Khushpur’s beloved sons was the late Shabaz Bhatti, the former Minorities’ Minister of Pakistan. He was a profoundly devout Catholic who publicly denounced the country’s infamous blasphemy laws. He knew that his life was at risk, but he was willing to die for Christ. In March 2011, he was assassinated by extremists on his way to work.
The town of Khushpur, with a population of almost 8,000 Catholics, lies 25 miles south of the city of Faisalabad. It is the largest predominantly Catholic village in Pakistan. Nationally, Christians are a small minority and regularly contend with discrimination, obstruction, and outright violence.
But despite general conditions, the parish is exceptionally active. Feasts and festivals are celebrated with great solemnity, particularly the feast of Christ the King, which is marked by an hours-long procession.
The people are resolute in their faith, and they diligently follow the Church’s liturgical calendar. Prayer and the Sacraments are part of their daily lives.
But they are a large and scattered group, so a good vehicle is essential to effective pastoral care. Priests and catechists must preside over Mass in remote towns, tend to the sick and housebound, and manage parish activities. They cannot properly lead the community without a reliable means of transport.
ACN has offered them $8,000 for a new pastoral vehicle. Will you help us fulfill this promise and support Pakistan’s Vatican?
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