Lahore: December 24, 2018. (Sunil John) National Commission for Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenism (Catholic Bishops’ Conference Pakistan) organized an Interfaith Christmas Celebration at a local hotel in Lahore under the supervision of Fr. Francis Nadeem OFM Cap (Executive secretary NCIDE) and Fr. Inyat Bernard.
The programme began with the prayer and recitations of Holy Bible and Quran-e-Majeed. Twenty-five candles were lit by the honourable guests to represent the Christmas day. The prayer was led by Fr. Sunil Irfan Sabir OFM Cap, whereas Muhammad Riaz recited few verses from Holy Quran.
In the beginning of the ceremony, Fr. Inayat Bernard welcomed all the participants in his introductory speech he elaborated the purposes of this special ceremony. The ceremony was enchanted by beautiful Christmas carols. The Capuchin Brothers and the Capuchin Youth from Kot lakhpat also presented beautiful Christmas Carols. St. Mary’s School Gulberg presented a cultural scene of a Live Christmas Crib and received lot of appreciation from the participants.
The honorable guests cut the Christmas cake. The 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 this gesture and prayed for peace, tolerance, happiness and solidarity among all the religions. Mr. Zakria Yousaf, DSP Lahore police represented the government of Punjab. He extended his greetings on this occasion in his message. Mr. Tahir Yazdani Malik, (President Lahore Heritage Club), Ms. Rohina Qureshi (Rotary Club,Lahore gardens) and Mr. Shanawar Hayat Lashari were also present on this occasion. They appreciated the ceremony and assured their support and cooperation for the spread of peace and harmony. The members
Expressing his views Fr. Francis Nadeem OFM Cap said that we have to eliminate all sorts of discrimination and hatred from our families, society and the country and to grow the seeds of peace, tolerance and harmony. He wished that may the coming year 2019 will bring forth our new generation to be the ambassadors of peace. At the end Fr. Francis Nadeem thanked the administration of Avari Hotel, the guests and the audience who were present for this programme.
Among the Honurable guets were Fr. Pascal Paloos OP, Moulana Muhammad Asim Makhdoom, Moulana Ashiq Hussain, Dr. Badar Munir, Fr. Inayat Bernard, Fr. Henry Paul, Rev. Saleem Khokhar, Fr. James Chanan OP, were the guests of honor. A number of Muslim and Christian religious leaders were among the other prominent guests. The programme was attended by a large number of people belonging to different religions and walks of life.
The programme ended with lighting of Peace Candles by Capuchin Brothers from Kot Lakhpat while reciting the Peace Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi lead by Fr. Henry Paul OFM Cap.