Bishop Declan Lang of Clifton is to celebrate Mass for the victims of the Easter Sunday bombing in Lahore, Pakistan.
The Mass will take place at noon tomorrow at St Nicholas of Tolentino church in Bristol.
Bishop Lang has already received a message of thanks for his support from the Archbishop of Karachi.
Archbishop Joseph Coutts said: “All of us in Pakistan live in a state of constant tension, even though the government has taken measures to counteract terrorism.
“Your words of solidarity and your prayers are therefore a great encouragement for us all. We feel that we are not alone,” the archbishop said.
In a message Bishop Lang said that the bombing in a public park in Lahore was only the latest such atrocity.
“Last year 100 homes of Christians were burnt down in one part of Lahore, and churches have been bombed,” he said.
“We pray that the authorities in Pakistan will act decisively to guarantee religious freedom and to bring all forms of religious persecution of minorities to an end.
“We pray also for the Church in Pakistan which has shown such courage and faith, that their and our response to the atrocities they suffer will be truly Christ-like: expressing Love’s victory over evil, in the words of the dying Crucified One, ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they do’,” he said.
Message from Archbishop Coutts to Bishop Lang
Thank you very much for your message of sympathy and solidarity as we in Pakistan once again suffered the consequences of a suicide bomb attack. In March 2015 it was a simultaneous attack on two churches, one Protestant and the other Catholic. In December 2014 it was a massacre of over 100 boys and some teachers in a public school which was 100 per cent Muslim.
Christians as well as Muslims are being targeted. This time the terrorists chose a “soft” target, a public park on a Sunday, because all churches and schools are now better guarded than before.
All of us in Pakistan live in a state of constant tension, even though the government has taken measures to counteract terrorism. Your words of solidarity and your prayers are therefore a great encouragement for us all. We feel that we are not alone.
Trusting in the Hope and Power of the Risen Lord we shall continue to witness to our faith in this challenging situation. Sincere thanks for your prayer support.
Yours fraternally in Christ,
+ Joseph F. S. Coutts
(Archbishop of Karachi)
President, Pakistan Catholic Bishops’ Conference