1989-10-02 00:00:00

Monsignor Luigi Bressan, the new Vatican pronuncio to Pakistan, visited Faisalabad Sept. 8 while touring the country to find out more about the local Church and meet various Church leaders.

Despite the fact that his flight arrived late, a large crowd met the new pronuncio at the airport and another crowd waited until 11 p.m. for him at the bishop of Faisalabad´s house.

As the pronuncio drove in with a motorcycle escort of youth volunteers, a band of schoolgirls struck up a welcome on their drums.

Bakhshish Yousaf, a lay Catholic, read a welcome address in which he listed steps taken by the Faisalabad diocese to promote people´s welfare, especially in the field of education.

Bishop John Joseph of Faisalabad told the large gathering that the new pronuncio showed great interest in the local Church and was with the Pakistan bishops during their recent Ad Limina visit to Rome.

The pronuncio thanked the bishop, clergy, Religious and people for their generous welcome and said he was particularly happy that the youth in Pakistan were taking a keen interest in Church affairs.

He also said he appreciated the efforts being made in the field of dialogue with Muslims.

Monsignor Bressan mixed freely with the people of Faisalabad during his visit. At the airport he gave piyar (the respectful gesture of laying hands on the heads of girls and women).

He also wore the pugaree (turban), traditionally presented to the head of a tribe, which the youth of Faisalabad presented to him.

While in Faisalabad, the new pronuncio joined parents, teachers and students at La Salle High School in celebrating a perfect pass rate in matriculation examinations with a dinner at the Serena Hotel Sept. 9.

The guest list included Bishop John Joseph of Faisalabad; Chaudri Mohammed Yaqub, divisional inspector of police; and Deputy Commissioner Butt of Faisalabad. More than 200 people attended.

Brother Maxwell Shanti, the school principal, spelled out the features of La Salle education in Faisalabad, noting that more than any results, La Salle was aiming at character formation.

All kinds of programs are held in the school to make its contribution to education distinctive, especially when consumerism is eating away at society, he said.

Every effort is made to give each of the nearly 2,000 students individual attention, he said, adding that each student´s birthday is celebrated at the school.

Brother Shanti praised the teachers who gave up some of their holidays to coach the matriculation class. He also praised the students and their parents for their sacrifices.

Bishop Joseph stressed that the Catholic Board of Education is running many schools in the diocese, most of which cater to the very poor, both in the rural and urban areas of the diocese.

He said the Church is determined to open schools wherever poor children do not have opportunities for education.

Monsignor Bressan, in his speech congratulating La Salle, said he was happy to see that Muslims and Christians in Faisalabad are working together in a friendly atmosphere.

He also touched on global situations and the need to respond to wider issues.


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