CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 13 July 2019

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Pakistan mourns much-loved bishop

MULTAN (SE): Bishop Andrew Francis, the former bishop of Multan in Pakistan, is being mourned across the country as a man of great determination to achieve peace and harmony in society through the promotion of interfaith dialogue and relations.
 
In acknowledging the life of Bishop Francis, the National Justice and Peace Commission says, “His selflessness, generosity and charitable nature are prominent symbols of peace and love in accordance with the teaching of Jesus Christ.”
 
As a priest of Lahore diocese and later as the bishop of Multan he was the founder of a number of Church-based welfare foundations, as well as being a tireless worker never afraid of getting his hands dirty in their outreach to the poor of his nation.
 
At times a controversial character, in 2000 a civil court issued a restraining order against his ordination as a bishop, but Church authorities got wind of it and ordained him secretly in the private chapel of the archbishop’s residence at Lahore cathedral before the order could be delivered.
 
The apostolic nuncio to Pakistan, Archbishop Alessandro D’Errico and Bishop Anthony Lobo, from Islamabad-Rawalpindi, acted as the ordaining bishops.
 
Reflecting his drive to bring people of differing backgrounds together, he was the chairperson of the National Commission for Interreligious Dialogue, as well as Ecumenism, and also for liturgy and the promotion of Catholic Urdu literature. Internationally he sat on the Commission for English Liturgy.
 
Bishop Francis stepped down as bishop of Multan 2014 when a car accident left him confined to a wheelchair.
 
May he rest in peace.

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