ASIA/PAKISTAN - On the anniversary of his death, the diocesan phase of the cause of beatification of the young Akah Bashir has concluded

Friday, 15 March 2024 martyrs  

Lahore (Agenzia Fides) - The sacrifice of Akash Bashir is an example that is bearing fruit in the Church in Pakistan: it ended with a solemn mass of thanksgiving celebrated this morning, March 15, in the Cathedral of Lahore filled with over 500 faithful the diocesan phase of the beatification process of Akash Bashir, the young 20-year-old Pakistani who sacrificed himself on March 15, 2015 in Lahore to stop a terrorist who wanted to carry out a massacre at the Church of St. John in the Youhanabad district of Lahore. "I will die, but I won't let you into the church," were his last words as he hugged the bomber, who was wearing an explosive belt, and died with him in the explosion. Today the entire parish of Lahore honored the memory of the young man and the Archbishop of Lahore, Sebastian Shaw, at the conclusion of the diocesan investigation to recognize the martyrdom, placed the certificate in the hands of the Apostolic Nuncio to Pakistan, Archbishop Germano Penemote, who was present at the celebration. In addition, records and documents collected and examined by the diocesan tribunal collected and examined over the past two years in the diocesan phase of the canonical process, which opened on March 15, 2022, were handed over. Akash is the first "Servant of God" in the history of the Church of Pakistan. Archbishop Shaw recalled the young man's sacrifice, thanked his family and the community of believers who continue to pray to him for the success of the cause, and noted with joy that he had received "a gift from God for the entire local Church". It is enough to recall that in St. John's Church alone, the site of Akash's martyrdom, more than 800 baptisms are celebrated every year and many young Pakistanis have begun to attend Mass and become active in the parish. The young man attended the Don Bosco Technical and Youth Center, founded in Lahore in 1999 by the Salesian religious to welcome students often rejected by traditional schools and provide them with technical and vocational training. The Pakistani Salesian Father Noble Lal, SDB, now Rector of the institute, who was present at the mass, tells Fides: "It was a very heartfelt celebration in which priests, religious and lay people of our community participated with spiritual intensity. The story and Akash's decision to believe are very important for our Church. In a split second, the young man decided to give his life. He lived his 'here and now' with God, with deep faith in him. Akash represents a powerful source of inspiration for our young people. We are very happy about this first step. Now all the documents are going to the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints in the Vatican. We hope that Akash can be declared a martyr by 2024 or the jubilee year 2025. We continue to pray: every Wednesday we celebrate a mass in memory of Akash at the Salesian Center, which is attended every week by more than 150 young people among our students, who are always highly motivated. The memory of him is alive and through his experience the young people receive an inner impulse to cultivate and deepen their faith in Jesus in their lives". (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 15/3/2024)