22nd April 2016 - Lahore-Delhi to boost unity and mercy between the two peoples. Mgr Sebastian Francis Shaw, archbishop of Lahore, visited the Indian capital with 16 priests from his diocese, where they were “greeted so warmly”. Despite being divisions and conflicts since 1947, “A strong sense of brotherhood and communion binds our two peoples”, and this calls for “a new culture of mercy".
Mgr Sebastian Francis Shaw, archbishop of Lahore (Pakistan), and 16 priests from his diocese performed a pilgrimage for peace and reconciliation between Pakistan and India.
“For us, this is very significant and fruitful,” the prelate said. “It was a great joy to be greeted so warmly by the archbishop of Delhi. A strong sense of brotherhood and communion binds our two peoples.”
The archbishop stressed that the trip was undertaken in the spirit of the Jubilee of Mercy, a spark for a new culture of peace and harmony.
The pilgrims left Lahore last Tuesday and after a 13-hour bus ride reached Delhi, where they were welcomed by a delegation led by the city’s archbishop, Mgr Anil Couto.
When he met the visitors, Fr Joe Kalathil SJ, coordinator of the Pakistan-India peace mission, placed a garland of flowers on each.
For years, Fr Kalathil has been working with children from various schools, in India and Pakistan, to promote a culture of peace. Hundreds of students from both countries have exchanged letters of friendship.
The pilgrims from Pakistan left today.
In meeting his guests, Mgr Couto said, "We warmly welcomed the archbishop of Lahore. Together we discussed the history of the Church of Lahore and the Church of Delhi. Our mother Church was Agra* but after independence in 1947** things changed".
"Over the years, the [two] Churches have grown, developed, and taken a new turn,” he explained. “With Mgr Shaw we shared the joys of our faith and the challenges of the mission."
For his part, Mgr Shaw said, "It is clear from the generosity with which we were received in all the historic places we visited that there is a culture that binds us.”
“There is so much respect for one another, and this will lead to social harmony and peace,” added the archbishop of Lahore. "In this Jubilee of Mercy, our pilgrimage to India acquires even greater significance. The Father, who is merciful to us, invites us to be with others. This is a call for a new culture of mercy".
* Agra is a city located in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is home to one of India’s oldest archdioceses.
** In 1947, British India was divided into two separate states, India proper and Pakistan.
Nirmala Carvalho, Asianews