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Muslims join in John Paul II celebration

Clerics also pray as late pontiff takes another step towards sainthood

Catholic students hold photos of Pople John Paul during a Church seminar Catholic students hold photos of Pople John Paul during a Church seminar
  • ucanews.com reporters, Faisalabad and Karachi
  • Pakistan
  • May 1, 2011
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A group of Muslims in Lahore will join Catholics in celebrating the beatification of Pope John Paul II today.

At least 12 clerics have been invited to a special Mass for one of the most beloved pontiffs at the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul in Faisalabad diocese. Souvenirs and brochures are being prepared for distribution on the day the Vatican is due to beatify John Paul.

“Muslim clerics were amazed after hearing he is to become a wali [saint]. The pope has been an inspiration for all, including Muslims who revere his spirituality”, said Vicar General Father Khalid Asi who is helping coordinate meetings to prepare for the upcoming event.

John Paul was more popular among Muslims than his successor, added the priest.

Multan diocese has also invited 40 clerics for an interfaith harmony seminar to honor the late pontiff at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Redeemer. Bishop Andrew Francis will host the seminar tomorrow following a series of events for students of Catholic schools.

On May 1 the beatification ceremony in Rome will be screened live at the national seminary, at a Catholic hostel in Karachi archdiocese and in Islamabad-Rawalpindi diocese. The Church commissions in the southern archdiocese are also preparing dramas and documentaries on the life and teachings of the pope.

Archbishop Evarist Pinto of Karachi will attend the beatification ceremony in Rome.

Pope John Paul II visited Karachi on February 16, 1981 where he narrowly escaped death at the hands of a bomber.

“It was a big event in the life of the young Catholic Church in Pakistan. His visit encouraged our priests and bishops and showed his concern for us” said Father Augustine Soares, who was in charge of papal security for that visit.

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