In an effort to expand Columban missions into another region of Asia and reach out to the Islamic world, the Columban Fathers made the decision to establish a presence in Pakistan.
In January 1979, the first group of Columbans, consisting of three priests, arrived in the Pakistani city of Lahore, followed a few months later by three more Columban Fathers.
Pakistan was founded in the late 1940s as a homeland for Indian Muslims, after the end of British colonial rule. Christians in Pakistan constitute a tiny minority of that country’s population, and sometimes are subject to harsh persecution and discrimination.
Since religious conversation is a highly contentious matter, the Columbans in Pakistan have focused mostly on Christian/Muslim dialogue and serving the needs of all communities in Pakistan, including Muslims, Hindus, and others.
Five Columban Sisters would join the mission in Pakistan in 1990, and in later years the mission would expand to the cities of Hyderabad and elsewhere.
Columban Fathers, Sisters, and lay missionaries continue to serve in Pakistan today under harsh conditions. Their mission there is a beacon of light in an often troubled and violent region.