Lahore archdiocese began its jubilee celebrations yesterday to mark its 125th anniversary, as Church officials staked out improvements in education as a priority for the coming year. “Social progress is our next challenge. Parents must invest in education for their children,” said Vicar General Fr Andrew Nisari during celebrations at the Sacred Heart Cathedral. Events included the lighting of the jubilee candle and a special Mass. Belgian Capuchins assumed control of the then Lahore diocese in 1888, two years after it was separated from the Agra diocese in neighboring India. Ten bishops have served Lahore since that time, which became an archdiocese in 1994. “There were only 40 Christians, all of them English and Irish soldiers, 125 years ago. Now, 85 percent of Pakistani Christians have their roots in this diocese,” said Franciscan Bishop Sebastian Shah. The theme of the jubilee celebrations was “new demands and new evangelization.” Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Edgar Penna Parra made “the committed Christian life” the topic of his jubilee message during the celebrations. “I would like to reaffirm the urgent need for the human and Christian formation of children and young people,” he told attendees. Seventy-five priests and 200 catechists presently serve in 608 chapels in the archdiocese. Since its foundation, Sacred Heart Cathedral has registered more than 20,000 baptisms and nearly 5,500 marriages to date. Sacred Heart parish alone has produced one bishop, five priests and 38 nuns since its founding.
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