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*Prayer campaign for Nepal ends *Pakistani Church bids farewell to Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha

June 14, 2011 by  
Filed under Asia, Persecution

Prayer campaign for NepalHundreds of Christians ended an annual 40-day prayer campaign yesterday for a better and brighter future for the country. Closing ceremonies took place at the Jesuit run St. Xavier’s School in Kathmandu. Amidst lively songs and biblical exhortations, youths and clergy highlighted some of the specific things they had prayed for including women’s rights and an end to drug abuse and child labor, as well as protection for Christians.

Chief coordinator Pastor Bhab Ghale said the event had been a success and that all funds raised through the course of the event came from local donations from participants in a motorbike rally, a river rafting prayer event and mountain top prayer vigils. Pastor Bishnu Khanal, who led a 10-day motorcycle rally involving dozens of bikes (May 15-24), said they covered 37 towns in 28 of Nepal’s 75 districts.

The prayer campaign which began on May 4 comes as Nepal struggles to write a new constitution. During the campaign a deal was struck to extend parliament’s term for another three months to try and end the impasse. Khanal urged people to pray against efforts by various groups trying to introduce laws such as banning conversions from one religion to another. “This 40-day prayer campaign may have ended today but we call upon you to gather in churches and keep praying until we have a new constitution spelling out our rights fairly,” he said.

– ucan

PAKISTAN: Church bids farewell to Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha

(RV) Hundreds of Catholic clergy and laypeople in Pakistan attended a thanksgiving Mass on Saturday for retired Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha of Lahore. More than 500 Catholics and all the diocese’s 58 priests attended a concelebrated Mass at Lahore’s Sacred Heart Cathedral, presided over by Apostolic Nuncio to Pakistan, Archbishop Edgar Pena Perra. Archbishop Saldanha retired on April 7 this year, after heading Lahore archdiocese for almost 10 years. Speakers paid tribute to the retired prelate who “strongly supported inter-religious harmony and dialogue during a decade of the ‘war on terror’.” They recalled major instances of Christian persecution, all in Punjab province, under his tenure of office, including the assassination of Catholic federal minister for minorities Shahbaz Bhatti on March 2, this year. The nuncio acknowledged “the difficult circumstances” and also assured the faithful of his prayers and support. Among several offices that Archbishop Saldanha held was the presidency of the Federation of Asian Bishop’s Conference and chairmanship of Radio Veritas.

 – http://www.radiovaticana.org

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