Pakistan bishop puts his faith in youth

Lack of vocations to the priesthood can be overcome if educational facilities are made available
Pakistan bishop puts his faith in youth

Bishop Samson Shukardin of Hyderabad in Pakistan (Photo supplied) 

Bishop Samson Shukardin in Pakistan has launched special study facilities for young Catholics in his Hyderabad Diocese to educate and prepare boys wanting to join the seminary.

“It was saddening for me when there was not a single vocation from the diocese during my first year as bishop of Hyderabad,” he said.

“That day I decided that for the next year I would start motivating my priests to work on it. The next year we had a successful vocation camp with 12 boys. We selected two but we thought to keep the remaining 10 boys in a parish and help them improve their linguistics skills, especially in English and Urdu.

“It’s a new beginning for the diocese but we are aiming to have our own minor seminary in the diocese in the next two years,” he said.

The diocese was created with territory taken from Karachi Archdiocese in 1958. The diocese spread over an area of 137,386 square kilometers and has 16 parishes, with half of them in tribal areas serving the Bheel, Kachi, Kholi and Parkari communities.

Bishop Shukardin was appointed as the fifth bishop of Hyderabad in 2014. He previously served as vicar general in the same diocese.

His other aim is to provide high-quality education to the poor in his diocese. He has helped children of poor farmers from 2012. Last year he visited a young boy who passed 10th grade despite being the first person from a family of street beggars to attend school.

Bishop Shukardin also serves as secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Pakistan and is chairman of the National Clergy Commission and National Laity Commission.

He is also well known for his support of the laity, especially youths.

Last month he attended a retreat with Jesus Youth, a Catholic lay movement.

“I stayed for a day and night to tell young Catholics that they are not alone,” he said.

“It’s part of my duty to make sure of my availability for the responsibilities I have been given,” he said.

During the retreat, the bishop not only heard confessions and celebrated Mass but also counseled youths to take their missionary call seriously.

Last July he also organized a three-day program for young Catholics in his diocese.

Bishop Shukardin has a keen desire to develop youth educationally and professionally. He has sent 150 young boys from his diocese for training at technical institutes in Hyderabad and elsewhere.

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Last August he accompanied a team from Caritas Pakistan Hyderabad to visit technical institutes in the city to seek opportunities for them.

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