Inauguration of New Parish in Sialkot by Archbishop Sebastian Shaw
Sialkot (Asif Nazir): Sialkot, one of the most active cities with Catholic parish, has a new addition as a part of the Bethania Hospital. His Grace the Archbishop of Lahore, Sebastian Francis Shaw, inaugurated Bethania Parish in Sialkot on March 05, 2017 during the Holy Mass. The solemn Eucharistic Mass was offered by the Archbishop with the newly appointed Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Akram Javed, and Editor Catholic Naqib Rev. Fr. Khalid Mir as the con-celebrants.
During the Introductory Rites of the Mass, Fr. Akram briefly described the history of the parish and Bethania Hospital Sialkot. He informed the faithful that the Missionary military came to Sialkot, then a part of the Sub-Continent, for Chaplaincy btween 1844 to 1847.
The Catholic nuns of the Religious of Jesus and Mary came here in 1852 and began serving the Church while giving formal education. He further informed, “In 1853, the foundation stone of St. James Catholic Church in Sialkot Cantt, famously called ‘Mona Church’ was laid and the inaugurated on November 01, 1854. But, this church was opened for military officials only.” He concluded saying that in 1888 Sohwala Church was established for locals although Mona Church remained the core parish of the city. Bethania Chapel was first established in 1885 then renovated later.
In his homily, the Archbishop congratulated the parishioners of Pakka Gharra on having a new parish in a blessed season Lent. Especially giving a sermon on Lent he said, “In the early 3rd century, Lent was lengthened to 6 days. About 800 AD it was changed to 40 days. We should give up at least six of our bad practices at least one in each of this holy season’s week”. In the Lenten season, self-examination is crucial. An individual’s response to the call for purposeful reflection on one’s need for God is an important factor in choosing a discipline with which to actively observe Lent.”
“Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” His Grace concluded.
The Concluding Rites of the Holy Mass ended with the signatory ceremony arranged by local choir of Bethania Parish. The silver jubilee with the parishioners was celebrated by the cake cutting ceremony presided by His Grace, which was held after the Holy Mass.