Parishioners at Gujranwala start to rebuild the Church with self reliance.
Gujranwala (Asif Nazir): November 17, 2019, Sunday was truly a blessed day for the faithful believers of Butranwali, Gujranwala. The foundation stone of St. Mary’s Catholic Church was laid by Rev. Fr. Samran Anwar, Parish Priest of St. Joseph’s Parish, Gujranwala.
Butranwali is one of the thickly populated villages, one of the sub-stations of St. Joseph’s Parish Gujranwala. It is about 7 kms away from the Parish. There are 50 Christian families with 254 individuals residing among the Muslim majority.
St. Joseph’s Parish Gujranwala is one of the 27th Parishes of Archdiocese of Lahore. It is situated approximately 80 kms in the west away from Lahore, the Provincial Capital of Punjab-Pakistan. This is one of the oldest mission stations of Archdiocese of Lahore founded in 1953 by the great Capuchin missionaries from Belgium.
The ceremony was started with the singing of Psalm 136. Gospel was read from “St. Matthew 7:24-25”. In his short homily Fr. Samran described the importance and purpose of the Church building. He said “The Church is the physical body of Christ on earth and we are the living parts of that one body because of the spirit of God. It is the physical representation of Heaven itself and the Holy Mass is celebrated in a church.”
St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Butranwali, is a part of Catholic Archdiocese of Lahore, Pakistan. The capacity of the old Church was 100-110 people and it was built on April 4, 1988. The first prayer was a Christmas Mass conducted on December 25, 1988. The Archbishop of Lahore Diocese, (Late) Archbishop Armando Trindade, led the blessing and inauguration Mass on Nov. 6, 1992.
Nazir Masih, local teacher and in-charge of all the church renovation told that in Butranwali most of the Christians are unemployed and those who are employed are mainly brick line workers and peasants. “This is the suffering of our Christian Community. Economic hardships and discrimination compels our people to take loans from their employers on very hard and inhumane conditions, which eventually adds up to their miseries, leading them to live in substandard conditions”, he added.
“The covered area of the new church will be 1200 sq.ft (total area 1400 sq.ft.) with the capacity of welcoming 300 parishioners. The total cost for completion of this church is approximately Rs. 2,500,000/- (15600 USD) and we have Rs. 560,000 (3500 USD) so far. Our local community is donating according to their affordability. Our first priority is to provide a roof over their head, continuing the rest of the work with the passage of time”, he continued.
“The Church will be a visible sign of our identity and a shelter for the faithful. We need financial support to complete our church so that the work may continue without any delay” he concluded.