Father Mushtaq Pyara (left), rector of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Lahore, presents a bouquet to Archbishop Sebastian Shaw on April 12. (Photo: Kamran Chaudhry/UCA News)
Archbishop Christophe Zakhia El-Kassis, apostolic nuncio to Pakistan, made the announcement on April 11 while celebrating Eucharistic Mass for the installation of Archbishop Benny Mario Travas in the seaport city.
“As an apostolic administrator will govern the diocese until a new bishop takes possession of the diocese, Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw will be the apostolic administrator of Multan Diocese for the time being,” he said.
Staff, priests and nuns of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Lahore welcomed Archbishop Shaw with bouquets on his return to the bishop's house in Lahore on April 12.
“I am thankful to Pope Francis and our nuncio who found me eligible to run two dioceses at the same time. I am thankful for their trust and confidence. I request you all to pray for me so that I earnestly fulfill this responsibility until a new bishop is ordained,” Archbishop Shaw said.
“I pray God will save us all from the coronavirus so that once again joy returns in our homes, markets become luminous and schools resound with voices of the children.”
Congratulations poured in from around the country. According to Father Francis Gulzar, vicar general of Lahore, this is a proud moment for the eastern archdiocese.
“He has been serving tirelessly in a very supportive and progressive manner for its betterment. I assume this new responsibility will give witness to that. Your Grace, with our sincere prayerful support, we implore may the spirit of wisdom, understanding and compassion accompany and guide you in this new responsibility in the pastoral and spiritual leadership of Multan Diocese,” he stated in a video message on Catholic TV.
Born in Padri-Jo-Goth, Sindh, on Nov. 14, 1957, Archbishop Shaw received his religious training under the Order of Friars Minor and at the Christ the King Seminary in Karachi. He was ordained a priest in Lahore on Dec. 6, 1991.
He was rector of the Juniorate and Postulancy of Darul Naim in Lahore from 1991 until 1995, taught at St. Mary's Minor Seminary, Lahore, and has been provincial of the Order of Friars Minor in Pakistan.
On Feb. 14, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him auxiliary bishop of Lahore. He was consecrated bishop at Sacred Heart Cathedral on April 25, 2009. On Oct. 27, 2013, Pope Francis appointed Bishop Shaw a member of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. The pope appointed him archbishop of Lahore on Nov. 14, 2013, on his 56th birthday.