The life of a priest in Pakistan is by no means easy. Most Catholic priests must minister to large and distant groups, and the threat of Islamic extremism is always present. Christians are regular victims of slander, discrimination, and violence.
They look to priests, then, for pastoral, spiritual, and practical help. For example, if an indentured worker dies, his wife and children will be evicted by their landlord. In such cases, people turn to the Church. The sick, the poor, the attacked: all seek comfort from their priests.
But the priests themselves live in a state of tension. Most have received threatening calls or letters, demanding that they convert. Some report calls from people claiming to be interested in the Church, clearly intended as traps: if priests misspeak on record, they face serious consequences, legal and otherwise.
So, it is crucial that the priests convene often, in order to encourage one another and foster a fraternal spirit.
Pakistan’s Diocese of Multan is located near desert land and terrorist camps. The current bishop’s now-deceased predecessor actually survived an attempt on his life. Still, the diocese is active. There are more than 30 priests, and the Church provides both pastoral support and humanitarian aid to Christians and Muslims alike. In fact, local Muslims frequently ask for the priests’ prayers.
Multan’s priests gather for monthly meetings and an annual retreat, which strengthen their resolve and sense of community. They return to their churches refreshed and further imbued with faith.
ACN plans to give the Diocese of Multan $9,200 for the retreat, amounting to $249 per priest. This will cover the costs of travel, food, and lodging.
Will you support the brave and dedicated priests of Pakistan? We are sure they will remember you in their prayers.
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