First Christian Chapel Opens in Pak University
Faisalabad: For the first time in the history of Pakistan, a Christian chapel has been opened in an Islamic university. This is the church of St. Mary, housed in the atrium of the Agriculture University of Faisalabad. It was inaugurated, on April 15th by Joseph Arshad, archbishop of Islamabad-Rawalpindi and president of the Pakistani Episcopal Conference, formerly titular of the diocese of Faisalabad. During the ceremony, he said: “The presence of a church inside the university enclosure will offer a message of love and harmony throughout the country“.
The new chapel is a novelty for the majority Muslim country. Up until now, more than 177 universities and colleges have been allowed to build only mosques. Christian places of worship were only allowed in Christian institutions. The project was launched in 2015, at the initiative of the former vicar general of the diocese of Faisalabad. The latter has allocated Rs 300,000 (about 2,000 euros) for the construction of the site, while the faculty has assigned more than one square km of land.
The ceremony was attended by university leaders, two priests and over 70 Christian workers who live on campus. Muhammad Zafar Iqbal, chancellor of the faculty, said: “This church was built with the aim of ensuring the religious needs of Christian students and university workers. I believe in inter-religious harmony and in the fact that mosques and churches are both sacred places in which to worship God. A university chapel is a living example of Islamic-Christian brotherhood “. Bishop Arshad thanked the administration and the government, for their willingness to provide a place of worship in which the Christian minority can meet and profess their faith in freedom.
(Extracted from mattersindia.com)