« If in the struggle to defend the rights of minorities and justice for oppressed people –if Jesus Christ wishes me to shed my blood, I will do it! I am ready to go until the last drop to fight injustice. And I’m not frightened.”
Shahbaz Bhatti was the former Minister for Religious Minorities in Pakistan; he was assassinated at the age of 42,on March 2, 2011.
JOURNEY WITH ACN is our Friday newsletter which will be regularly posted to our blog. This weekly newsletter will an opportunity for us to acquaint you with the needs of the Church and the projects we have realized together in countries around the world.
This week: Pakistan
Help for the printing of 30,000 copies of a booklet on the Rosary in Urdu
There are over 1.2 million Catholics living in Pakistan today. Compared with a Muslim population of over 180 million, they are no more than a tiny minority, however, and into the bargain they are socially marginalised, oppressed, and often the victims of violent assaults. But despite this, the people’s faith is strong.
A crucial aspect of this faith is the veneration of Our Lady, the Mother of God. Almost every church in the country has a chapel or grotto dedicated to Mary, where many of the faithful go to pray after Holy Mass. Indeed, Mary is also venerated by many Muslims. Although women in Pakistan can undoubtedly be seen as oppressed in many ways, within the home environment the mother figure is still highly regarded. As one Pakistani proverb has it, “Paradise lies beneath the feet of the mother”. Or, as Father Emmanuel Parvez, of Pansara in the diocese of Faisalabad puts it, “Mary, as a mother figure, is nurturing, caring, loving.” He continues: “Everyone comes to Our Lady, especially those who are sad or sick, or who have problems. Many childless women come to her, asking to be able at last to become mothers. Others bring their little children and lay them at Mary’s feet, asking her: “Care for my child, just as you cared for the Child Jesus!”
Now, in the Year of Faith, the bishops of Pakistan wants to strengthen the prayer of the Rosary in every diocese of the country. As a result,they have asked ACN to help for the printing of 30,000 copies of an illustrated prayer booklet – simply entitled “The Rosary” – in Urdu, the national language of Pakistan. They are confident that this will help and encourage the Catholic faithful to pray the Rosary in their parishes and in their homes. ACN is helping with $12,026 towards the cost of printing this booklet.