The Catholic Church in Pakistan inaugurated the Year of Youth with a celebration held on November 16, 2019, in the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Lahore, the Bishops of Pakistan announced the event before an assembly of over a thousand faithful, especially young people, who came from all the dioceses of Pakistan, reported Fides News Agency.
Bishop Samson Shukardin, Bishop of the Catholic diocese of Hyderabad and chosen as Coordinator for the Year of Youth, during the mass, concelebrated by all the Bishops, in the presence of the Apostolic Nuncio in Pakistan, Archbishop Christophe El Kassis, said: “The Year of Youth in Pakistan is a time when the Church strengthens young people, committed to the development of young people in the educational, professional and spiritual fields, so that everyone lives with dignity. It will be a time to listen to them, to listen to the challenges they face in the modern era and to help them grow”.
The Bishop encouraged priests, religious, nuns, catechists and lay people to actively take the initiative to meet young people and create opportunities to improve their skills and talents. He then said: “We must also work to reach young people who are far from faith, especially those with various types of addictions such as drugs, to listen to them and help them get out of such addictions”.
After the Eucharistic celebration, a ceremony was held to declare the solemn opening of the Year of Youth. Cardinal Joseph Coutts, together with the Apostolic Nuncio and other Bishops, lit the candle of the Year of Youth.
Pope Francis also sent his cordial greetings and assured his prayers for young people in Pakistan. The Apostolic Nuncio Christophe El Kassis read the message in which Pope Francis says “pray so that in the coming months young people will grow in a prayerful union with the Risen Jesus, in the knowledge and love of the Catholic faith and in the zealous service of their brothers”. In this way, putting their youth and gifts at the service of the Lord and Church, they will increasingly become “witnesses to the Gospel wherever they are”, notes the Pope, entrusting the youth of Pakistan and their families to the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church.