Several churches in Karachi are remaining open after dark as part of a plan to encourage all Christians to own and read the Bible.
A Church initiative to foster Bible reading invites parishioners to organize evening sessions in catechists’ homes and Catholic Churches in Karachi archdiocese
The Catholic Bible Commission of Pakistan kicked off the “Hundred Thousand Friends of the Bible” campaign in June last year.
“We are encouraging every Christian to have his personal copy of the Bible and read all of it. Thousands of posters and flyers have been distributed around the country to invite people to the sessions,” said Father Emmanuel Asi, the commission’s executive secretary.
Surveys by Church youth groups reveal most Catholic homes only have one Bible. The archdiocese has a Catholic population of 145,000.
Sparing time from a busy lifestyle to do this is a challenge says, Nadeem Lal Bhatti, youth leader of St. Monica’s Catholic Church in Karachi.
Bhatti is a teacher at a Catholic school, and meets five friends at a retired Catechist’s house at 10 pm every night.
“The number of participants is higher only on Sundays, a holiday,” he said adding that one hour of dedication involves each person reciting a chapter to the others.
The attendance register for evening sessions is kept at the Church.
Archbishop Evarist Pinto of Karachi has praised the initiative.
“Up to 60 percent of the people cannot read the Bible due to illiteracy but they are keen to listen. These sharing groups will produce lay leaders and bring positive changes in families,” he said.
The campaign will also feature Bible Mini Marathons in six dioceses this year and a National Bible Marathon is scheduled for October 2012 in Mariamabad, the National Marian Shrine in Punjab province.
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