Catholics in Pakistan
Archdiocese of Lahore

Archbishop Shaw Consecrates Divine Mercy House for Priests

Lahore (Asif Nazir): On January 10th, 2024, Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw, Archbishop of Lahore, presided over a joyous Holy Mass for the blessing of the new Divine Mercy House. This special occasion also marked the 58th Sacerdotal Ordination anniversary of Fr. Benjamin Joseph and the 48th Ordination anniversary of Fr. Emmanuel Yousaf Mani. Clergy, sisters, seminarians, and the faithful of the Archdiocese of Lahore filled the venue with religious zeal and vibrant spirit.

The Mass included readings from 2 Samuel 7:27-29, 1 Thessalonians 5:12-18, and the Gospel of Matthew chapter 5. In his homily, Archbishop Shaw emphasized the significance of the day, calling it “a very joyful and blessed day in the diocese.” He highlighted the theme of ‘The Year of Family Formation’ as the diocese is observing this year (2024) with the said theme. He reminded everyone that through baptism, we become sons and daughters of God so as to continue our mission of love & care for mankind. He emphasized the importance of lifelong spiritual growth and encouraged the priests to continuously develop themselves through love and action.

Also read: Fr. Yaqoob Barkat celebrates his 30 years of priesthood

Archbishop Shaw spoke about the long-held dream of constructing the Divine Mercy House. “This dream was years in the making,” he said, “and it is God’s plan that we are able to finally bless it this year.” He acknowledged the initial plan to hold the blessing on 5th December 2023, but explained the change due to unforeseen circumstances. He added, “After consulting with Fr. Mani, we chose January 10th, which also happens to be his ordination day.”

Fr. Asi expressed his gratitude to God for his blessings and care throughout their lives. He congratulated Fr. Mani on his Sacerdotal Ordination Anniversary and acknowledged Fr. Benjamin Joseph as the most senior priest in the diocese. He shared the history of the housing project, tracing its origins back to the era of Archbishop Armando. He described the initial building of eight rooms near the bishop’s house and the later effort during Archbishop Lawrence Saldana’s tenure when a German organization offered to donate a gift of a complete house for priests but the diocese was unable to avail the said gift. He expressed his appreciation to Archbishop Shaw for his commitment to finally realizing the dream of building the Divine Mercy House. He also thanked ‘Aid to the Church in Need’ for their financial support and Fr. Mani for his tireless efforts in the project’s completion. He urged young priests to visit the house regularly and spend time with senior clergy in the house.

In his closing remarks, Archbishop Shaw reiterated that the Divine Mercy House is not only for senior priests but for the entire clergy. He encouraged all priests to utilize the space to share blessings and fellowship with each other. He expressed his gratitude to several individuals who contributed to the project’s success, including Fr. Mani for his dedication, Mr. Tariq for his assistance with government documents, Mr. Naeem and Mr. Nadeem for installing the tabernacle and gate. He concluded by thanking Fr. Naqash & the seminarians for arranging the Mass, Fr. Asif Sardar for preparing official documents, and Fr. Rafhan Fayyaz for handling refreshments.

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