Catholics in Pakistan
Apostolic Vicariate of Quetta

Witnessing Rich Faith at the Land of Coal Mines Duki, Baluchistan

By Fr. Peter Shangara

Duki: As the world celebrated the Holy Feast of the Assumption of Blessed Mother Mary, Arooj-e-Mariam Catholic Church in Duki of the Baluchistan province, commenced her first celebration of the feast.

The news to celebrate the sacred feast was shared by the parish priest of Arooj-e-Mariam Catholic Church Fr. Peter Shangara last year. This was announced not only because the Church is dedicated to the Blessed Mother Mary but also because the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother is a Holy Day of Obligation.

Church choir at Arooj-e-Mariam Catholic Church in Duki of the Baluchistan

Furthermore, it is of immense interest to know that the Church Arooj-e-Mariam, meaning ‘in the glory and salutation of Blessed Mother Mary’, was built after the occurrence of a miracle by Mother Mary. The holy apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary occurred to a Hindu man named ‘Chandur,’ who after this gifted a piece of land to build a Church. The clergy of the Church and the local Christian community always remembers the Late Mr. Chandur in their prayers for gesture of faith and gratitude.

On the day of celebration, His Lordship Bishop Victor Gnanapragasam graced the occasion by conferring the parishioners with the Holy Chrism Oil that marks the consecration of the faithful. The total of ten adults and children confirmed during the sacramental ceremony.
The festivity commenced with solemn celebration of the Holy Eucharist offered by His Lordship Bishop Victor Gnanapragasam with the parish priest of St Francis of Assisi Parish Loralai and his assistant Fr. Imtiaz Faryad as the concelebrants.

In his homily, Fr. Imtiaz said that Mother Mary is the perfect example of humility and humanity. He said that she was exalted because of her faithfulness to the One Almighty God. Thus, she is the ultimate role model for us in our faith on Jesus Christ.

After the holy Eucharist, the children supervised their teachers of Sunday school presented a tableau whereas the faithful presented their gifts to all the servants of God.

His Lordship, sharing his views, congratulated the community for practicing their faith with ardent devotion. He also lauded the dedication of the priests and the catechist.

The city, Duki, comprises of only ten Catholic families. It is at the distance of almost 313km from the provincial capital Quetta while being 63km away from Loralai. The road to Duki is quite a rocky and unpaved road which adds to the challenge of the mission in this part of the district in Baluchistan. Nonetheless, it is challenges like these that makes the overall experience interesting and adventurous.

(Contribution: Marian Joseph)

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