Oblates in Pakistan: Prophets in the Mission Fields
The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate arrived in Pakistan on the 14th February, 1971.
The first team of Oblates consisted of three members from Sri Lanka. They were warmly welcomed and appreciated for their love and fraternal charity for the local Christians. They started their missionary journey from the parish of Gojra in Faisalabad Diocese. In accordance with the Oblate charism they always preferred to go to the most abandoned and rejected of the society to evangelize them and bring them the true Christian identity as sons and daughters of God. The prophetic approach of the Oblates to the poor areas brought encouragement and hope to the oppressed ones. The Oblates became the voice of the voiceless in order to bring them the due rights of basic facilities and education, etc.
They learnt the culture in no time and therefore, their ministries could attract the people soon and then, other Dioceses invited them to work for the development of the Christian faithful through their way of radical living and evangelizing activity. The Oblates, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, contributed a lot in the parochial missions, literacy, social and financial growth. They went among the poor and marginalized to share their lives. Through their prophetic work and commitment, the simple people were able to see the love of Christ. In this chapter the Oblate Mission in Pakistan, their prophetic witness and endeavour are described in brief.
- Religions in Pakistan
Pakistan was founded in the name of Islam; it is the major religion in Pakistan. However, historically in the land of Pakistan there were a number of religions and are at the present moment. Irfan Ghauri states that in the country there are about seven different religions. More than 3% of the total population belongs to other religions. In this Muslim country, after Hindus, Christians are the second largest group of the religious minority, representing about 1.6 % of the population (Ghauri, 2012).
- Arrival of Christianity in Pakistan
The history of Christianity in Pakistan is often traced back to the Apostles of Jesus Christ. The tradition says that the Apostle Thomas came to this Land to preach the Holy Gospel. At that time King Gondulphares was ruling the territory, which is called today Sirkap, Taxila. The archaeologists were able to find the Taxila-Cross in 1935 which is an authentic indication of Christianity present here from the first century. The Cross was discovered from the ancient town of Sirkap. Its origin has been dated back to the 2nd Century. Today the Taxila Cross is safely kept in the Anglican Cathedral in Lahore, Pakistan (Evers, 2005, pp. 18-20).
- The Arrival of the Oblates in Pakistan
At the invitation of Benedict Cialeo OP, Bishop of Lyallpur (Faisalabad), three Oblate Missionaries from Sri Lanka arrived in Pakistan on February 14, 1971. When the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate came to Pakistan, the diocese had a great need of Priests. In 1971 Faisalabad Dioceses had only 20 priests. It covered an area of 29,000 sq km. At the time the Diocese had about 65.000 Catholics, served by 20 priests (13 Dominicans and 7 diocesans) of whom 9 priests were over 60 years old. The bishop had requested Fr. Lucien Schmitt OMI the Oblate Provincial in Sri Lanka for help. The Provincial felt the need of the time and took the bold step of sending three Oblate priests to Pakistan. On the 14th of February 1971 the first batch of three Oblate Priests, Fr. Lester Silva, Fr. Basil Silva and Fr. Theogenes Joseph arrived.
On the 18th of February the contract between the Diocese and the Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate was signed by Benedict Cialeo OP and the Oblate Provincial Fr. Lucien Schmitt OMI. After studying Urdu for four months, the Oblates were assigned to different parishes in the Diocese. On the 25th of October the first missionaries received official letters of appointment from the Bishop. Their appointments were as follows; Fr. Lester Silva in Gojra, Fr. Bob Basil Silva in Chak Jhumra and Fr. J, Theogenes in Okara. Each priest looked after about 50 villages where a few Christians lived among the Muslims. Gradually the Oblates extended their apostolic mission to the other dioceses like Multan, Lahore, Hyderabad, and Karachi (Joseph, 1977, pp. 18-19).
- Christian Community Development
In1974, the members of the Oblates increased to six. They had been serving in three different parishes like the other priests in the diocese. To make their mission more visible, the Oblates encouraged each village to meet together on their own and form basic Christian communities, a project which they called the Christian Community Development (CCD). They had the idea of development at parish level and then team work with the other parishes. The Oblates informed the bishop about this Christian Community Development team work. While serving in the parishes the Oblates observed and evaluated how they could evangelize the poor and marginalized in a better way. They had a few experiments to discover the proper way for our charism which also leads us to go among the people and experience a fraternal relationship with them.
The bishop accepted their request of the program of Christian Community Development for it contained a prophetic purpose and inculturation of Gospel values. It was to conscientise people at every level of their lives whether it was social, spiritual, material, educational or self developmental. The Oblates took the prophetic step while working with the people attending to their spiritual and sometimes financial needs. In order to eliminate the inferiority complex from the minds of the poor the Oblates taught them the Gospel values through their word and prophetic witness.
Their missionary lives became a model for the simple Christians to be united with the Lord in all what they did and said in a Muslim context. The welcoming attitude and hospitality of the missionary Oblates began winning many people for Christ. The CCD program progressed fast and the Oblate prophetic mission became well known all over the country in no time.
The Christian community gathered together to discuss and evaluate their faith, lives and affairs pertaining to their daily communal or individual growth. And these gatherings well utilized existing “Bradri System”. The main goal of the Oblates was to make people aware of their self development through the community process. The Oblates were quite successful in Christian community development project. Particularly all the bishops were very happy about their prophetic role for the people of simple faith (Michael, 1989, pp. 74-75).
Because of the Bradri system in Punjab the CCD system was accepted very soon. Bradri system is a cultural and basic unit in Punjab, where people come together or live together on the social level. The Oblate communities were having regular meetings to evaluate things and the progress of faith-formation of people in a better way. As Fr. Theogenes, the mastermind of the project explained quoting the Constitutions and Rules of the Congregation: “We have as our goal to establish Christian communities and Churches deeply rooted in the local culture and fully responsible for their own development and growth” (Const. 7).
The Oblates were appreciated by his Eminence Cardinal Cordeiro, when he presented his report to the F.A. B. C. in 1979. He mentioned that the Oblates were really playing a prophetic role in the land of Pakistan and in the hearts of the poor and marginalized. Formation houses of the religious and Christ the King Seminary began to send their candidates for the pastoral exposure to the Oblate parishes (Joseph, Pakiatan Gelegation, 1996, pp. 99-100).
- The Missionary Activities in Rangpur
The Oblate missionaries were being sent wherever the great need was felt in the world. Similarly the Oblate Priests Frs. Temsey Croos and Percy Mariathas were sent to Rangpur to render their services for the poor. The Rangpur parish was erected with the arrival of the Oblates. The new parish covered a vast area including today’s parishes of Derekabad and Azizabad.
Before that it was a sub-station where the priests used to visit once in a blue moon. Prior to the Oblates arrived Holy Family Sisters of Bordeaux had taken residence and faithfully looking after the community. The Oblates were able to help the poor spiritually as well as financially. The local Christians had the land but it was difficult for them to cultivate it due to financial reasons. Fr. Temsey was able to get the engines Tube Wells, donkey carts etc, so that the people could have enough harvest for their family and even for their animals. A community hall was built for the villagers to come together to decide and make their social and cultural lives well organized and their Christian faith strengthened under the guidance of the Oblates. Fr. Percy took the initiative and started the CCD program in Rangpur Parish. Its growth was quite slow. The parishioners were given the Catechism classes and community awareness programs. Fr. Thomas Anthony Pillai (TAP) had also served as a Parish Priest in Rangpur. He also organized several groups for the CCD. The main task of these groups was to study, to live and to spread the Gospel values among the people. Fr. TAP organized this group to work in their own respective areas. Most of the programs were conducted on the values of life and the services of the society (Bashir, 2016).
- The Prophets in the Desert
In Derekabad Parish many Oblates came to serve. Fr. Temsey Croos OMI, while being the parish priest of Rangpur saw the special and challenging needs of the people of Derekabad and Azizabad and took steps to develop the area into a parish. Derekabad is a large desert area. It confuses the traveler because of the blowing wind the paths in the desert vanish. The weather conditions go to the extremes, i.e. warmest in the summer and coldest in winter. The Parish covers a huge area today it includes Muzafargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan and Kot Adhu. It takes a long time to reach the sub-stations from the main Parish. The Oblates, besides their busy timetable, measure up to the needs of the faithful whether they be social, cultural, spiritual or financial. They are hand in hand with the parishners in all their joys and sorrows; to get them justice, lands and basic human rights.
In 1975 the Mission at Derekabad was started by a Diocesan Priest Fr. Derek Misquita. He accommodated many faithful Christian families coming from different parts of the country to better their lives. After Father Derek Misquita the people suffered neglect till the Mission was handed over to the Oblates. Before the arrival of the Oblates, the educational level of the parishioners was very low. In 1985, Fr. Temsey Croos OMI was appointed the first Parish Priest by Bishop Patras Yusuf, of Bishop of Multan Diocese. Fr. Temsey began living in a hut. He started working with the people day and night. His prophetic services were visible and well appreciated by the people of the area. He was the one who could build houses for the poor parishioners. His first step in the prophetic role was the opening of schools for the children. While supporting the parishioners to earn their livelihood, Father Temsey Croos OMI also constructed a Marian Shrine for all the faithful which is known today as “Shrine of the Queen of the Desert”. Every year people from all over the country come in pilgrimage to visit and have personal devotion to the Malka-e-Thal. Fr. Temsey’s untiring efforts to witness the Gospel through his words and deeds were wonderful and prophetic (Razi, 2016).
Because the churches were to be constructed, people gathered under the trees for Eucharistic celebrations and other spiritual exercises. In fact there was no electricity in those areas and people managed with oil-lamps. It was Fr. Temesy’s prophetic effort in 1992 which could make electricity available for the parishners. He was a man of action and could take strong steps for the achievements of Christian rights (Perera, 1993). Armando, Trindade, Bishop of Lahore was glad to see Father’s tremendous work in the desert. He was highly impressed that the Oblates were great missionaries and that they had contributed a lot to the Local Church (Perera, Derekabad Mission, 1994).
6.1. Educational Programs
The Oblates played their prophetic role while conducting different programs, i.e. “Cooperative Education” for men and women and “Social Awareness” seminars for youth. They also conducted the “Basic Health Education Seminar” for the illiterate young girls. So the seminars were successful in making people aware of their intellectual and human development. They got to the right path of life and of truth. They were motivated to stand on their own feet for all their needs of life (Croos, 1992, pp. 10-11).
6.2. Witnessing from the People
Fr. Temsey was familiar with the lives of the people in such a way that their pains and joys were his pains and joys. He shared their heavy burdens of disappointments, loneliness and of inferiority pressure. He was a prophetic light to them which could gather them and lead them to the way of the Kingdom of God. He wanted to see the happy and progressing people in the desert. He was able to help them in their cultivation, to provide them the water pumps tube wells, sheep, goats, cows, and engine oil. Financially, those people who were very poor, were unable to buy the piece of land for their living. If his parishioners had a fight among themselves he had the enough courage to go among the people and solve their problems. He also could go to the courts in order to get lands for the villagers (Gorge, 2016).
6.3. Living Prophet in the Desert
Fr. Emmanuel Asi states that although Fr. Derek Misquita was the founder of Derekabad lands schemes and settlements, Fr. Temsey Croos OMI will be considered the spiritual and educational founder of the people of the desert. He conscientised them spiritually as well as educationally. He was able to build the Marian Shrine, the second largest and well attended shrine in Pakistan. Fr. Emmanuel Asi affirms that at his invitation, when Fr. Temsey visited Mariamabad, National Marian Shrine, “He proposed that there must be some point where the pilgrims must feel and experience that they were entering the shrine square. Today, the great arches at the entrance of Grotto Square at Mariamabad are Fr. Temsey’s idea actualized” (Asi, 1996).
6.4. Prophetic Witness to the Gospel
Fr. Gunther Ecklbauer OMI is also a well known personality in the desert of Derekabad. The residents of Derekabad say that God sent an angel in the desert in the form of Fr. Gunther OMI. In 2010, the area was badly affected by floods. People lost their beloved ones, their houses and their belongings. Frs. Gunther OMI and Mukhtar Alam OMI were ever ready to be a light of hope, unity and of brotherhood, in times of turmoil and disaster for all the people without any discrimination. There were more than 1500 people who were given shelter at St. Mary’s School.
The Oblates played the prophetic role while providing them the basic needs, food, clothing, shelters and health care facilities. There have been many funerals and even delivery cases in that critical time. The Fathers were strong enough to tackle all those natural calamities and painful moments of people through the grace of the Holy Spirit. The Oblates’ unconditional concerns and services to the suffering human kind were in themselves an authentic proof of their prophetic charism and of their prophetic commitments. Though the discriminated Hindus were hapless and helpless for no one dared to bother about them, yet, it was Fr. Mukhtar OMI who took the initiative and helped them with great love equally and selflessly. In this way, the Oblates could win many souls for Christ, for their good deeds are imprinted on people’s hearts and lives which continue to enhance their faith, sense of brotherhood and mutual love and respect for all human kind (Asia-Oceania, 2010).
- Daily Struggles and Challenges for the Prophetic Oblates
In the barren desert, every day the Oblates go through a lot of problems and challenges. It is only the grace of God that strengthens their faith and vocation and prepares them to seek radically the absolute perfection and fraternal charity. Here are a number of challenges for the oblates in the desert…
7.1. Struggling to Win Back the Lands
The Christians at Derekabad had a number of acres of lands to cultivate, but, the neighbouring landlords occupied the land. So, Fr. Mukhtar Alam OMI works for the poor to get their lands back. Since the Christian do not have enough money or the sources to fight for such cases in the courts, therefore, the Oblates help them to get their property back. The Oblates keep challenging the dishonest landlords and by the grace of God, some of the Christians have got their lands back. For the sake of the poor, Fr. Mukhtar made an attempt to appeal to the President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari, Governor of Punjab Latieef Khosa, and he was successful. The case of land has been very sensitive and a lot of money was needed. The Oblates are still trying to measure up to the expectations of the people at Derekabad (Abbas, 2016).
7.2. Efforts for the Literacy
Fr. Mukhtar Alam is also helping the people educationally. During his time as the parish priest the educational level has gone up. For the development of the society he works day and night. He is administering nine schools at various sub-stations of the Parish. These schools have been bringing forth a standard result with the effort of the Oblates. For example in 2015, St. Michael High School obtained the First Division in the District. The Oblates are also helping those who are unable to afford the educational expenses. The Oblates help them to get the uniforms, books, stationaries, and shoes etc. The literacy rate is ever growing in the area. And its credit goes to the Missionary Oblates.
7.3. Faith Formation
The Oblates organize different spiritual seminars, programs and classes to attend to the spiritual needs of the people. People love to attend the Faith Formation programs and celebrations. The regular Eucharistic celebrations on Sundays, ceremonies for death anniversaries and thanksgiving celebrations keep the people united in their faith and commitments. Besides these programs, annual Marian Pilgrimage also brings people together to pay homage to their Heavenly Mother and Malaka-e-Thal. In this way, all the spiritual needs of the parishioners are met (Sadiq, 2016).
7.4. The Oblate Mission in Azizabad
Azizabad is another parish developed by the Oblates. It was very difficult to serve in that territory. In the beginning the basic needs of daily life were not available. People had to struggle for the basic needs, for example, there was no electricity, no gas and pure drinking water. Ground water was salty and even not good for the animals. People had to bring water from other areas. It is also a sandy area. It was quite challenging for a pastor to serve in the Parish. In 1992, the foundation stone of the school was laid over there by the Oblates. Fr. Joseph Benedict OMI organized small groups of young persons and began to conduct classes on Bible reading, prayers and basic catechesis. Fr. Alex OMI was one of the well known shepherds of Azizabad area who contributed a lot in the social and spiritual lives of the parishioners (Benedict, 1992, pp. 37-39).
- Generous Contributions of Fr. Alfred Rayappu OMI for the Local Church
In the missionary journey of the Oblates in Pakistan, Fr. Alfred Rayappu OMI cannot be forgotten for he had done wonderful missionary work and had contributed a lot. In 1978, Bro. Alfred Rayappu OMI (an auxiliary Brother) came from Sri Lanka to Pakistan with great enthusiasm. He was well trained in the fields of Catechetics and media. He began his missionary services from Gojra Parish, Dioceses of Faisalabad. When the construction of Oblate Juniorate began in Multan, he was the one who supervised the whole project. He was appointed the first Rector of the Oblate Juniorate in 1986. Before the completion of the Oblate Juniorate, the Juniorists had been staying in Dar-ul-Naim, Lahore from 1980-1986. With the generous support of the Franciscans Friars, Fr. Arul Nesan OMI was catering to the Oblate candidates for some time.
At the request of Bishop of Multan Diocese, Fr. Alfred organized a Catechetical program in the Diocese. Later called to priesthood, he was ordained a priest and was appointed as the first Parish Priest of Pirmahal, where there was no proper accommodation for him. He started residing in the classroom of the school and started to construct the Church’s building and Parish house. He was a good pastor, faith builder and a good teacher. He had a great concern for the poor and needy. He never bothered about the weather conditions and was determined in his responsibilities. He was very conscious of the poor, their education and medical needs. Many of the people witnessed to his prophetic life which was poured out in the love of Christ for the human kind. And even today, his life and endeavors are a great source of encouragement and bravery for the new generation. He had served as the Secretary of the National Catechetical Commission in Pakistan. He used to conduct refresher courses for Priests, Catechists, and for laity. He had rendered his services as the member of the Board of Directors of the Waves Studio in the Diocese of Lahore. At his death Bishop Joseph Coutts said, “It was a great loss not only to the Oblates but to the Church in Pakistan”. Fr. Alfred is no more with us today, but his prophetic services and love for the people of Pakistan is alive in the minds and hearts of many (Gnanapragasam, 2002).
- Invitation for the Oblates to the Holy Rosary Parish in Quetta
On 5th of May, 1980 Bonaventure P. Paul OFM the Bishop of Hyderabad Diocese wrote to Rev. Fr. Bernard Quintus the Oblate Provincial in Sri Lanka…. “I have not approached any other congregation. I am holding on to the Oblates from Sri Lanka for the obvious that:
- They being Asians, they are in a better position to adjust themselves to the country and the people.
- I appreciate the type of work being done by the Oblates in the Punjab, and I wish that they work along the same lines in the Diocese of Hyderabad too; to promote lay apostolate and bring about a sense of responsibility to the local Church”(Gill, 1993, p. 22)
9.1. The Area of the Parish
In March 1981, two oblates, Fr. Maximux Peter Fernando and Fr. Percy Mariathas were sent to Quetta Parish to see the area and observe the situation. In the parish a priest had to cover the whole city and the out stations as well. The Christian communities were spread far and wide all over the mountainous territories in Baluchistan. It included the sub-stations in Loralai, Zhob, Pishin, Chaman, Sibi, Mach, Mastung, Muslim Bagh, Dalbandin, Gulistan, Sheila Bagh, Kalat, Noshki, Ahmedwal, Nokhundi, Kolpur, and Dhadar (Akhtar, 2016).
9.2. Holy Rosary Parish Officially Handed over to the Oblates
The Oblates took the charge of the Parish on the 10th of September, 1982. After finishing his studies in America, Fr. Theogenes Joseph (Theo) returned back in September 1982, and was appointed the first Oblate Parish Priest in Quetta. After spending some time and having had concrete observations Fr. Theo wrote to Fr. Victor Gnanapragasam, the Delegation Superior, reminding the words of Bishop Bonaventure “One of the great, great drawback of Quetta is the sharp, sharp, sharp distinctions”. We the Oblates here, feel that Bishop is right in his saying because we need to take up this challenge with the proper animation and coordination of the Parish. Our first priority should be the most abandoned Christian faithful.
His ministry of evangelization is based on three levels which are: institutional level, social level and basic level. He arranged regular gatherings of the parishioners to evaluate the situation of the Parish and to present some helpful solutions. Father demanded great patience from the parishioners for the dreams of success. After eleven years of hard work, Fr. Theo was able to see the Parish in the right direction. There were forty Sunday schools in different places in the whole Parish. These Sunday schools were run by the lay faithful. They were teaching the basic catechism to the children. The literate volunteer teachers took these responsibilities for the mission of God. There was a better understanding and collaboration among the priests and the parishioners. A priest could not go to every substation due to the vastness of Parish and shortage of priests in the diocese. Fr. Theo took the bold step to prepare the lay people who could take this responsibility willingly to work in their own communities. It was Father Theo who involved the lay faithful in the ministry of education and in conducting the prayer services. The best thing done by Fr. Theo was to ensure discipline in everything, such as Sunday schools, choir groups, and liturgical celebration and in the Parish records.
9.3. Holy See Announces Quetta as Prefecture
The mission of Quetta was given to the Oblates in 1982 by the diocese of Hyderabad. Then, there was only one parish (Holy Rosary) The Holy Father John Paul II made an announcement of the establishment of the Apostolic Prefecture of Quetta on 7th December 2001. The official ceremony was held in Quetta when his Excellency Alessandro D’Errico, the Apostolic Nuncio to Pakistan read the papal bull and proclaimed Rev. Fr. Victor Gnanapragasam OMI as First Apostolic Prefect of Quetta Prefecture on 6th of April 2002.
After eight years, the Quetta prefecture had expanded to eight Parishes. On 29th of April 2010 Pope Benedict XVI elevated the Apostolic Prefecture of Quetta to Apostolic Vicariate and very Rev. Fr. Victor Gnanapragasam OMI, was appointed the first Vicar of the Apostolic Vicariate of Quetta. The Episcopal Ordination Ceremony took place at St. Patrick’s Cathedral Karachi on 16th of July 2010. Bishop Victor has served more than forty years in Pakistan. He has rendered his services in different capacities such as Apostolic Vicar, Delegation Superior, Delegation Councilor, Formator in Juniorate and Scholasticate, Teacher, Spiritual Director, and Parish Priest. He is the most senior and experienced man in the Delegation of Pakistan. After forty years in Pakistan, now he is well aware about language, culture, situations, and difficulties. Most of the Oblate Priests in Pakistan are his students (Waidyasekera, 2010, pp. 6-11).
9.4. Missionary Endeavors in Loralai
The adventures and missionary works of the Oblates are well appreciated and highly regarded in St. Francis of Assisi Perish, Loralai, in Baluchistan. Although this parish was erected in 2000 as an independent parish, the Oblates had been rendering their services over there since 1982. It has ten substations which are very far from the parish. Sometimes for a number of families a pastor has to travel hundreds of miles. The pastoral team has to stay with the parishioners because they cannot come back to the parish on the same day due to the long distances. The area of the parish is very vast. There are almost 342 Catholic families in the parish. The parish is located on the border with Afghanistan which makes the area unsafe. There are many cases of kidnapping and killing by Tallban. The public transport is very slow and uncomfortable because of the mountainous area. The roads are very narrow and dangerous for the traveler. Facilities for the communication are very limited on the way while travelling. Inspire of all these challenges and difficulties, the Oblates are there to share their time, thoughts, talents, pains, joys and happiness with the Christian faithful (Patras, 2016).
9.5. Missionary activities in Sibi
The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate by their charism always prefer to go to the places where the others do not wish to go. Accepting or working in St. Eugene Parish, Sibi is also a prophetic role of the Oblates for the spread of the Kingdom of God. It is the hottest city in Pakistan. During the summer season, its temperature goes up to 53 degrees centigrade. The Oblates took the prophetic step to proclaim the Gospel there too. In 1999, it was erected as St. Eugene Parish Sibi, before that it was an outstation of Holy Rosary Parish, about 165 km away from Quetta. Fr. Renard Remindran OMI was appointed the first Parish Priest in Sibi. The financial status of Christians in Sibi is very low. Most of the Christian community works in municipal administration and get a very low income. This Parish is run with a subsidy given by the Vicariate. The Oblates are helping the people spiritually as well as educationally (Tajamal, 2016).
9.6. Prison Ministry in Pakistan
The Oblates have great love for the prisoners too for they are considered the herald of freedom to the captives, sight to the blind and Good News to the poor. A number of Oblates have been visiting time and again, the prisoners in Central Jail Mach, Baluchistan. Their main concern was not only to visit them but to help them in their faith-formation, spiritual growth and medical care. The ministry for the prisoner was done through the fraternal support of Mr. Khaliq Masih who had been serving the prisoners for forty years. This prophetic witness of the love of God for the prisoners could win many souls for Christ. They could bring hope and courage to be reconciled with the Lord and their families once again (Khaliq, 2016) .
The life of the Oblates itself is the sign of God’s infinite love and mercy for His people. Their prophetic and life-giving charism has won many souls for Christ. In Pakistan, the contribution of the Oblates for the Christians is very prominent and dynamic. Many of the poor and the faithful on the periphery have been evangelized. Through the Oblates, the Good News has reached many of those who had lost their dignity and were caught in the darkness of sin and death. Following the example of St. Eugene de Mazenod, the Oblates give the living example, while serving the poor and marginalized in Pakistan. They proclaim the Word of God through different methods, such as preaching the Word of God, catechizing the children, Sunday schools and conducting the Marian pilgrimages (Melas) etc. They also produced audio/video cassettes based on spiritual hymns and films for a better approach to the simple-hearted people.
The Oblates came with great love and missionary zeal. The critical weather conditions, long and tiring distances could never hinder their missionary task to reach the Christian faithful. Through their labour and hard work there was a great change of progress especially in the spiritual and educational fields. The different skills were developed through a CCD program which was well appreciated by the Bishop’s Conference in Pakistan. Today, the Oblates continue the works of salvation and of evangelization in the areas where the others would hesitate to treat. Even while facing all the challenges and difficulties the Oblates never stop but go on with great courage and love to spread God’s Kingdom. Through their missionary endeavors, spirituality and hospitality, the Oblates are able to win the hearts of many faithful. In response to the words of their beloved Founder St. Eugene de Mazenod, “Go, therefore, among the poor and evangelized them” we joyfully proclaim, “The poor are evangelized”.