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We are pleased to announce that the summer interns in our CCAO office in Washington, D.C., are promoting the project “Students Helping Students,” to assist education efforts in Pakistan.
We are blessed beyond measure to live in a country where we can read the Bible freely and meet together to pray and share our faith. Unfortunately, there are countries where the literacy rate is low, and people can’t read, can’t comfort themselves with His word in times of darkness and doubt. For Columban missionaries living and working in Lahore, Pakistan, with the Christian minority, most of the people they serve are illiterate.
Columban Fr. Liam O’Callaghan would like to help educate the children of the poor, hardworking, and yes, illiterate people scratching out a subsistence living on the outskirts of Lahore. Very poor children and non-Muslim children are often marginalized and maltreated in school which results in many dropping out very early. Discrimination is even more rampant in the rural areas.
The school Fr. Liam would like to build is called Daul-Baseerat and translates to “house of Insight.” I can’t think of a better name for a secondary school in Pakistan than “House of Insight,” a safe place to learn and grow. The school will be built on a piece of land which the local Christian community has had and used for many years and with the full agreement of the entire community recently signed over to the Archdiocese of Lahore.
The school will offer quality education to the students in rural area of Halloki, Lahore. Many of the students will come from the Sisters of St. John of God primary school, although any student in the area is welcome. Fr. Liam feels it is essential that Muslims and Christians learn together in school in order to learn how to grow together in respect and friendship to create a more tolerant and fair society. While this may be a tall order for elementary school children, it is a start. And educating the children of the very poor today will benefit everyone tomorrow.
Unfortunately, there is no government financial support of private schools in Pakistan. Any donation, large or small, that you could give to support Fr. Liam and the school would be so appreciated. As you can imagine, it is difficult to work in such a restricted environment.
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” (Matthew 25:35-36)
Jesus’ passion for the oppressed, the hungry, the widows and the orphans was so much a part of Himself that to care for others was, and is, to care for Jesus. In all likelihood, you will never meet the people who benefit from your prayerful and financial support. On their behalf, and for Columban missionaries around the world, please accept a heartfelt gratitude for all you do in Jesus’ name, bringing His word and a light in the darkness to those who most need it.