Though outwardly seemingly unremarkable, the village of Khushpur is sometimes jokingly described as “Pakistan‘s Vatican.” It can be seen as the heart of the Catholic Church in Pakistan, given that this one Catholic parish 2 bishops, over 35 priests, more than 100 religious Sisters and a considerable number of religious Brothers have emerged.
The Holy Spirit Sisters are a congregation founded in 1950 in Germany. They work above all in pastoral care, and their role is to support the priests in their work. The Sisters give catechetical instruction, prepare children, young people and adults to receive the Sacraments and organize prayer meetings.
Kazakhstan is a vast country, covering an area of well over 1 million square miles, or more than a quarter of the size of the entire United States. Yet it has a population of just 18 million. A former Soviet republic, it has been an independent state since 1991.
The life of a priest in Pakistan is by no means an easy mission. Most of the Catholic priests in the country have to minister to vast areas, and the threat of Islamic extremism is ever-present. Christians are victims of violence and false accusations of blasphemy, and even in their ordinary everyday lives, they face constant hostility and discrimination.
Catholics make up only a tiny minority in Pakistan: just a little over 1% of a total population which is 96% Muslim. Generally, Christians belong to the lowest levels of society and are not even viewed as full and equal citizens by most Pakistanis. They face abuse, discrimination and even persecution, including violent attacks.