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.
Despite these difficulties, the Catholic Church in the country is very much alive and active, striving with all the means at its disposal to accompany and support the Catholic faithful and strengthen them in their faith.
One important element of this support is the help for married couples and families. In Pakistan, just as elsewhere in the world, Christian marriage and the family rooted in Christian values face all kind of difficulties and challenges. In response, the Church in Pakistan has devised a range of programs to support and accompany young couples preparing for marriage and families with children.
The National Committee for Family and Life is responsible for training individuals to work in the dioceses, preparing young couples for the sacrament of matrimony and family life. It also has a range of programs which not only deal with the spiritual dimension of marriage but also help with practical problems of the kind that face most married couples and families. Questions such as: What does the sacrament of matrimony actually mean? What is the ‘Theology of the Body’ spoken of by Pope Saint John Paul II? How can a Christian family life be built upon the Sacraments? These are just some of the issues tackled by the program. At the same time, issues such as natural family planning, conflict resolution, encouraging married couples to talk together and discuss their issues, education in responsible sexuality for young people, focusing on fidelity, love and mutual responsibility are also covered, along with many other topics.
Bishop Samson Shukardin, who is chairman of the National Committee for Family and Life has already run programs of this kind for marriage and family life successfully in his own diocese of Hyderabad. He rightly insists, “The welfare of families is decisive for the future of the world and the Church.” We are helping with a contribution of $8,500.
Will you give to support marriage and the family in Pakistan?
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