Catholics are a tiny minority in Pakistan, making up just a little over 1% of a total population which is 96% Muslim. But even as a minority facing difficult conditions, abuse and discrimination, they strive to live out their faith.
Catholics can be found in villages like Issanagri, in the Parish of the Assumption in the Diocese of Faisalabad. The parish as a whole has a total of 6,000 Catholic faithful, while Issanagri itself has some 300 Catholic families, or approximately 1,500 Catholics.
The village is 6 miles from the center of the parish, so it is a long walk to the parish church. Issanagri already has a small chapel of its own, but it is far too small for the number of the faithful.
Now the Catholic faithful have themselves begun to build a larger church. They have made great sacrifices to do so – collecting money, although they themselves are poor, and working hard on the building site, even though they already have to work very hard simply to support their families.
Despite all their efforts and hard work, they have so far only managed to build part of the church. Holy Mass is still being celebrated in the open air, between the partly built walls, where there is no shelter from the scorching sun or torrential rain, or indeed the biting cold that can still be felt in winter, even in Pakistan.
The parish priest, Father Waseem Walter, has written to ACN for help so that they can finally complete their church. He writes, “It is urgently necessary to build this church.” We have promised him our help, and his people were overjoyed to learn that we are willing to support them. Now we need your help to raise the $12,400 we have already promised them…
Will you support Father Waseem as he strives to build this church for the hardworking faithful of Issanagri?
We are sure he will remember you in his grateful prayers.
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