Lahore: National Commission for Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenism (Catholic Bishops’ Conference Pakistan) organized an Interfaith Christmas Celebration at a local hotel in Lahore. His Grace Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw OFM was the President of this ceremony, whereas the Minister for Minority Affairs and Human Rights, Government of the Punjab Mr. Ajaz Alam Augustine was the Chief Guest.
Among the other participants of this Interfaith Christmas celebration were Fr. Francis Nadeem, Hafiz Sayed Ashiq Hussain, Moulana Muhammad Asim Makhdoom, Dr. Badar Munir, Sardar Kalyan Singh, Fr. Inayat Bernard, Fr. Qaisar Feroz, Fr. Francis Sabir, Fr. Henry Paul, Rev. Shahid Mehraj, Yousaf Benjamin, Fr. Samson Dilawar, Rev. Emmanuel Khokher, Rev. Saleem Khokhar Dr. Kanwal Feroze, Pir S.A. Jaffery, Moulana Ashagr Arif Chishti,
The programme was attended by a large number of people belonging to different Religions and walks of life. The programme began with the prayer and recitations of Holy Bible and Quran-e- Majeed. The programme began with lighting of Peace Candle of Christmas. Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw and leaders of the others religions lit the Candle of Peace together with a hope to illuminate the darkness and grow in faith and hope. In the beginning of the ceremony: welcomed all the participants and Mr. Haroon Gill narrated the aims and purposes of this Christmas Interfaith ceremony.
During the programme, children from different schools presented Christmas carols and received lot of appreciation from the participants. It was remarkable to see few Nigerian Students performing on the national hymns of Pakistan. Students from St. Mary’s School Gulberg presented a beautiful tableau depicting the history of Crib. This segment of the interfaith Christmas celebration that touched the hearts of all the viewers.
During the ceremony the honourable guests cut the Christmas cake. The Muslims scholars presented flowers to His Grace Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw and the Provincial Minister. Honorable guests greeted all the participants for Christmas. They said it is a remarkable demonstration of the interfaith harmony which is dire need of the hour. The speakers in their message appreciated the efforts for Interfaith Dialogue and prayed thatmay the coming year be filled with peace, tolerance, happiness and solidarity among all the religions.
The chief guest Mr. Ajaz Alam Augustine while talking to the participants appreciated this get together and the efforts of interreligious dialogue for a peaceful society. He extended his message of peace on behalf of the Government. He assured that the Government is taking all precautions for the protection of Minorities in Pakistan.
Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw, while expressing his views on this occasion extended wishes to the participants on the occasion of Christmas. He cited the need of Peace and harmony in the society. He said, “We need to bring forth the new generation to be the ambassadors of peace”.
Expressing his views Fr. Francis Nadeem said that we have to eliminate all sorts of discrimination and hatred from our families, society and the country to grow the seeds of peace, tolerance and harmony.