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Muslim renovates flooded Church

Prayers for national assembly member footing the restoration bill

Muslim renovates flooded Church
Reconstruction of Church after last year's floods
Saraphine John, Faisalabad

May 27, 2011

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Christians are offering daily prayers for a Muslim politician who is funding a Church restoration project. Every morning parishioners from Holy Rosary Church gather at the Marian grotto school to offer supplications for Muhammad Ijaz Virk, a national assembly member. The project, which is costing six million rupees (US$ 70,073) includes revamping a 1,114 square meter area including the church floor, altar, altar stage and the parish house. “This is the first time a Muslim has financed such a project in the diocese. We invited him to help restore the dilapidated structure but got more than we expected,” said Father Bashir Francis, the parish priest. Built in 1985, the Holy Rosary Church suffered heavy damage after last year’s flooding, the worst natural disaster in the country’s history. While the grotto is currently being used for Mass, parishioners shift to an adjacent school hall in hot weather. “The Church building was already more than half a meter below road level and half of it remained submerged for months.” the priest said. According to Virk, Prime Minster Yousaf Raza Gilani approved the project. “The government is very cautious about the construction of places of worship but I convinced them. I am inspired by my father who preferred to hire Christians to work in his food company because of their honesty,” he said. Holy Rosary parish has about 6,000 Catholics; most of them work on daily wages as sanitary workers. Related report Deacon shot in dispute over blocking floodwater PA14330
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