Columban Mission History In Pakistan

Columbans first came to Pakistan in 1979 at the request of the Bishop of the Diocese of Lahore, Punjab Province. In 1983, Columbans also began to work in the Diocese of Hyderabad in Sindh province. There are presently thirteen ordained Columbans assigned to Pakistan, two Lay Missionaries and five Columban Sisters.

Context and Content of the Mission
Pakistan offers an incredibly rich culture with a variety of peoples, all with a long history and tradition. Columbans see their apostolate as based primarily on respect and appreciation of culture and peoples.

Main Apostolates
The Columbans in Pakistan have identified the following key challenges:
1. Promoting better relations between Christians and Muslims through a dialogue of life and faith, particularly through joint ventures in response to pressing social needs;
2. Promoting better relations between Christians and Hindus, with a particular focus of primary evangelisation among the Parkari Kholi;
3. Overcoming the isolation of the Pakistani churches by facilitating missionary awareness and encouraging exchange between these and other churches;
4. The reality of injustice: The ministry of social justice is important element of Columban mission. Areas of concern are: the caste system, ruthless landlords, land grabbers, abuse of water rights, child labour, bonded labour, extreme poverty and abuse of human rights - ethnic, social, economic and religious marginalisation; violence against people, especially women and the environment. A specific focus is the issue of International Debt.

In this area of the apostolate time and attention is paid to primary evangelisation, community formation, lay apostolate, mission-awareness among the evangelised, seminary formation and a comprehensive programme for lay missionaries.


Socio-Political Action and Ecological Awareness
As a minority, Christians are growing in awareness of their own dignity. Recently Columbans engaged in two campaigns: one for equality in elections and the other against the proposed compulsory religious identity regulation in National Identity Cards which would further the system of segregation. Promotion of ecological concerns is part of many parish and community educational plans and activities.