ucanews.com reporter, Faisalabad
Updated: October 31, 2011 09:19 AM GMT
Mushtaq Anjum has become the first Pakistani Camillian priest after he was ordained along with two new deacons on Friday at Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Faisalabad. Bishop Joseph Coutts of Faisalabad, concelebrated the Mass with 30 priests including three Camillians from abroad. About 250 Catholics also attended the ordinations. “Our congregation is born today in Pakistan in the shape of a new priest”, said Father Evan Paul Villanueva, MI, Vicar Provincial of the Philippine province, who also thanked the local Church for supporting them. Italian Father Rino Metrini, the first Camillian priest to visit Pakistan started the mission in 2001 when he came to supervise the construction of Rosary Christian Hospital, a non-profit charitable institution in the village of Rehmpur, in Punjab province. Father Anjum, a drop out from St. Thomas the Apostle Minor Seminary in Faisalabad, was among the first group of three Camillian candidates to join the training program, which started that same year. One of the others became a diocesan priest, the other got married. "I was teaching in a Catholic school when I joined. The vision of starting this new mission in Pakistan kept me going,” explained Father Anjum who plans to initiate community-based health programs for children and drug addicts. The new priest helped form a lay Camillian family of 15 Catholics last year who visit the sick and provide them with food and medicine. Faisalabad diocese presently has 40 priests and three deacons, one of them permanent. Church authorities say this year saw a drop in ordinations.
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