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New archbishop of Karachi puts emphasis on teamwork

Archbishop Travas promises to be a good shepherd as the sixth archbishop of the Pakistani metropolis

Zahid Hussain Khan and Kashif Anthony

Zahid Hussain Khan and Kashif Anthony

Published: April 12, 2021 07:08 AM GMT

Updated: April 12, 2021 08:53 AM GMT

New archbishop of Karachi puts emphasis on teamwork

Archbishop Benny Mario Travas is installed as the new archbishop of Karachi at a ceremony at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on April 11. (Photo: UCA News)

Archbishop Benny Mario Travas has been formally installed as the new archbishop of Karachi at a ceremony held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on April 11.

He was named the new archbishop-elect of Karachi in February, becoming the sixth archbishop of the metropolis.

“I dedicate my episcopal ministry to our Blessed Mother Mary, the model of humility and fidelity in doing God's will,” Archbishop Travas said.

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The prelate thanked God for choosing him to assume this responsibility.

He expressed his gratitude to Pope Francis, who considered him worthy of being the archbishop of Karachi. His humility, love for those on the periphery and especially his calling to be a shepherd will always be his guiding principles during his episcopal ministry in Karachi, he added.

Archbishop Travas also thanked Archbishop Christophe Zakhia El-Kassis, the apostolic nuncio to Pakistan, and Cardinal Joseph Coutts, his predecessor, who led the Church in Karachi from 2012 to 2021.

Hoping for support from his clergy at the new archdiocese, the archbishop said his mission and success would count on teamwork.

“I am joyous to see so many young priests and nuns in the audience and promise that I will try to be a good shepherd to you all. And I will strive to root out the division and bring about ‘Communion,’ which I have chosen as my motto,” he said.

“I just finished my episcopal mission in the Diocese of Multan, and there were many wounds I encountered there. I wish to name just three: the low morale within the clergy, many of whom felt that they were treated worse than the laity; the second was the declining standard of education in our schools; and the third was the stealing of diocesan property.

“What I learned in seven years in Multan Diocese was to acknowledge these wounds, not hide them, and let the people and my priests know that these are the wounds of our diocese.

“The second thing is to love our wounds. In Multan, this has been my biggest challenge to love the obvious wounds and this is what Divine Mercy is all about — that despite the mistakes and wounds that we create, God still loves us, God still shows his mercy, God still says I give you another chance. 

“And finally, a positive action to heal the wounds. Teamwork, praying together, forgiveness, treating all the people with respect and equality, doing good to all, especially those who are against you, these are the positive actions to heal the wounds that we have.”

Cardinal Coutts, emeritus archbishop of Karachi, handed over the archdiocese to his successor by recalling that it was on March 17, 2012, that he was sent to the Archdiocese of Karachi.

“I have served in Karachi for nine years. I have done whatever I could. It would not have been possible if my priests, nuns, and laity had not cooperated,” he said.

"I am thankful to you all. Although I was a stranger in Karachi, you had accepted me — wherever I went to do my pastoral visit, for confirmation, or any work, you had welcomed me wholeheartedly as I was one of your sons.

"So let us pray for Bishop Benny as he takes over. Being from Karachi himself, I am sure he will reach out to all the people and organize the people and continue to develop this diocese where there is so much potential. May God bless you all for your kindness, your generosity, your love, and may God bless the Archdiocese of Karachi."

Archbishop El-Kassis said: “The Holy Father appoints all bishops, so today is a day in which Monsignor Benny Travas will start his ministry as archbishop of Karachi, governing it as Jesus wanted with the spirit of humility, spirit of love, spirit of care and spirit of understanding.” 

Later, he invited Father Anthony Martis, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Karachi, to hand over the Papal Bull and show it to the Council of Consultors of the Archdiocese of Karachi, to the clergy and to all the people present.

The Papal Bull has great value in the Catholic Church as an official papal letter or document from the pope.

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