Emergency Aid for Priests, Catechists and Needy Families Affected by the Pandemic in Pakistan

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan has been severely hit by the coronavirus pandemic – not least economically. The consequences have fallen particularly hard on the Christian minority in the country. Even in normal times, local Christians are gravely disadvantaged and discriminated against. Belonging for the most part to the poorest sections of society, they have little chance to rise further in society. Most of them work as day laborers, domestic employees or in other menial jobs such as cleaning drains.

Even before the pandemic, most Christians in Pakistan lived hand-to-mouth. Now, many are unemployed, and many of their children have been forced to give up school because their parents can no longer afford the school fees. High inflation and rapidly rising prices have plunged many families still deeper into poverty. Yet, local aid agencies usually help only Muslims, and even state aid agencies often exclude Christians and other minorities.

The Catholic Church itself has also been very hard hit by the economic consequences of the pandemic. For a long time, the churches were closed by the lockdown and Holy Mass was available only for those who could follow on livestream. Sunday collections dried up, and priests and catechists were for the most part unable even to visit local Catholic families.

Despite all these difficulties, the people‘s faith has remained strong, and there have been wonderful signs of hope. One example was what happened in the village of Pansara in the Diocese of Faisalabad. At the height of the panic, in the summer of 2020, Father Emmanuel Parvez climbed onto the roof of Saint Paul‘s Church with a small replica statue of the Infant Jesus of Prague and blessed his entire parish with it. Wonder of wonders, infections seemed to cease. To this day, there have been no new reported COVID-19 infections in his village, and no recorded deaths at all. The 70-year-old Father Emmanuel reported: “After the blessing, everybody noticed a great change. Christians, and even Muslims came to thank the Child Jesus for it.” Now, every Friday close to a hundred Catholic faithful gather round to entrust their needs and cares to the Infant Jesus, who has so often demonstrated his wonderful help.

While the situation in Pakistan has improved to some extent, many needs remain. We want to help the 40 priests, 55 catechists and the neediest families in the diocese of Islamabad-Rawalpindi with a contribution of $34,700. In addition, we are also helping 1,600 needy Christian families in the province of Punjab with a total of $34,700 to alleviate their most urgent need.

Will you give to help provide emergency aid for priests, catechists and needy families affected by the pandemic in Pakistan?

Aid to the Church in Need commits to invest your funds where they will have the greatest impact for the Church that we serve. Funds donated to Aid to the Church in Need’s projects will be used towards the greatest need in our programs to help keep the Faith alive.

Code: 328-00-59

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