Pakistan: Christians Called to be Missionaries

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    “God chose me and every baptized Christian to be a missionary, to be always ready to serve His people with humility, doing our best, listening and praying. My mission is to meet, to visit the people of God, sharing the word of God and announcing the Gospel.”

    These were the words of Bishop Samson Shukardin OFM, shepherd of Hyderabad, in the Pakistani province of Sindh, reported December 14, 2018, by Fides News Agency. He spoke to Fides about his mission as a priest and a bishop on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his priestly ordination, celebrated December 10 in the Cathedral of St Francis Xavier in Hyderabad.

    The Bishop thanked his parents and the teachers who accompanied his path of faith, discernment of his vocation to the religious life and the priesthood.

    Telling Fides about his community the Bishop said, “the Church in the diocese of Hyderabad has grown in these 25 years, the faithful have grown stronger in the faith and in the awareness of their missionary duty. We need diocesan priests. We started a project with an institute to serve as a pre-minor seminary in 2015, now we have 16 boys in our pre-minor seminary and in 2019 we will have our own diocesan minor seminary.”

    Diocesan pastoral consists of instruction, interreligious dialogue, with a missionary approach, involving “assiduous service of the faithful in communities, schools, and social work, to promote interreligious harmony and peace in the spirit of the Gospel”. “Instruction – the Bishop underlines – is the only hope if we are to break the chains of slavery and live a life of freedom and dignity.”

    Shukardin joined the Friars Minor (OFM) in 1982 in Karachi and was ordained a priest on 10 December 1993. He has served also as president of the Conference of Major Superiors in Pakistan, Vicar general in the diocese of Hyderabad, Director of the Diocesan Commission for Justice and Peace “. He was ordained a bishop on 31 January and chose as his episcopal motto “Evangelisation”.

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