Amid crises, Pakistani church officials urge Catholics to keep faith


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LAHORE, Pakistan (CNS) -- Holy Week in Pakistan this year is set against a backdrop of the war on terror and suicide bombings. Workers at several Catholic institutes have died and many have lost their houses in recent bomb blasts across the country.

Price hikes are making it harder for the poor to meet their daily needs. The country also is experiencing major power shortages, and workers at Catholic schools and hospitals told the Asian church news agency UCA News that these shortages are seriously affecting their operations.

With the country in the grip of these crises, low-profile Easter celebrations are being scheduled in Catholic parishes in the Archdiocese of Lahore, UCA News reported.

Palm Sunday processions March 28 were limited and kept inside church compounds all over the country.

Auxiliary Bishop Sebastian Shah of Lahore asked Christians to keep their faith in God amid the war-like conditions in the country.

In the March 16-31 edition of Catholic Naqeeb, Lahore archdiocese's Urdu-language bimonthly, he wrote, "Let's see how we can become a source of good news for the worried people of our times as we celebrate the feast of the glorious resurrection of Jesus in 2010.

Every person is insecure and worried today." Bishop Shah noted that "people are feeling insecure in their houses and colonies amid dearness, unemployment, suicide attacks and shortage of basic commodities."