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First Camillian house inaugurated in Pakistan

Cardinal Coutts welcomes the congregation at an event that also marked his 50 years of priesthood

First Camillian house inaugurated in Pakistan

Camillian Father Mushtaq Anjum (right), Cardinal Joseph Coutts and Father Saleh Diego at the ribbon-cutting ceremony in Karachi of the first Camillian house in Pakistan on Jan. 22. (Photo courtesy of Father Mushtaq Anjum)

Camillians have officially initiated their mission in Pakistan with the inauguration of their first community house in the country.

Cardinal Joseph Coutts, the archbishop of Karachi, blessed the building in a ceremony attended by more than 50 that included celebrations of the cardinal’s 50 years of priesthood.

“I am glad your work is starting here. My God bless you work. It’s needed. We forget the sick very often. We are not properly equipped to care for the sick,” Cardinal Coutts said.

“We must have it as an apostolate, a ministry. We pray God blesses the students that they may grow up to be really caring, loving and dedicated priests to think of those who are the weakest. Don’t just tell them things. Do things. We need trained formators and don’t have any in Pakistan, at least for diocesan priests.”

Father Luigi Galvani, delegate superior of the Indonesian Camillian Delegation, congratulated Father Mushtaq Anjum, the only Pakistani Camillian priest, for establishing the Camillian residence in Pakistan.

“This is certainly a historical day for us. I congratulate Father Mushtaq for being so committed with the task of caring for the formation of young people,” he stated in a video message.

Father Aldino Amato, a 90-year-old Italian Dominican, first contacted the Camillians in 2009 to ask them to take over a Catholic hospital in the village of Rehampur in Faisalabad Diocese.

Italian Brother Luca Perletti, general secretary of the Camillians, officially established the Lay Camillian Family (LCF) in Punjab province in 2011. Father Anjum was ordained the same year. A Catholic nurse is coordinating a LCF medical and charismatic prayer group in Okara.

Cardinal Coutts blessed LCF as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion in 2012. Since then, its members have spread to Okara and Khushpur in Punjab as well as in Karachi.

Last year LCF distributed ration bags among 500 families as part of coronavirus relief aid.

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Father Mushtaq thanked Cardinal Coutts for welcoming his congregation to Karachi Archdiocese.

“Father Amato wanted Camillians to take over Rosary Christian Hospital, a facility of 50 beds. Although it didn’t work for practical reasons, they got vocations,” said the missionary, who returned to Pakistan last August after serving in Indonesia for four years.   

“So far we have two aspirants. Finance of the rented building is a challenge besides a shortage of manpower. The pandemic has hampered travel for European visitors.”

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