Kasur (AsiaNews) Christian women held an inter-denominational Easter prayer meeting in the village of Haji Gaga, 55 km south of Punjab's capital of Lahore on the initiative of Milap, a Christian lay organisation well appreciated by the Pakistani Church for its work in favour of inter-faith dialogue.
The meeting took place last Saturday and involved about a hundred Protestant and Catholic women. They all said they appreciated the experience, many adding that they were moved by the chance of following in the footsteps of Jesus' Passion. They also plan to make a monthly occurrence.
Lazar Rehmat, Milap's Punjab branch chairman, opened the meeting. National Chairwoman Margaret Piara read a text in Punjabi accompanied by canticles.
Shafia Yosuaf, a Catholic participant, said that the Passion of Christ "was presented so well that people felt they were in the real situation. It was like we were walking with Jesus on the road to Calvary."
She added that "as we were listening [. . .], most of the ladies, even some of the men, were crying. It was so touching because it is like what is happening today to Christians in Pakistan".
Ms Piara said during Lent "churches are full on Sundays. Since we are in a Muslim country and face many difficulties, the Passion of Christ draws many people who feel they are sharing in Jesus' suffering because this happens every day".
Some catechists read passages from the Gospel according to Luke.
Many participants said they never prepared for Easter in such a intense way. "Now we understand the meaning of Easter and can better celebrate it better," they said.
Director Piara praised Lazar Rehmat's "very active work" in the village.
Local women have decided to hold a monthly prayer meeting dedicated to a specific topic; each time, at a different home. They also plan to offer children a Bible game with prizes so that the little ones can "learn the verses by heart".
"Haji Gaga's Christian community is very young and needs catechesis", Piara explained. "Given the lack of priests, the laity has an important role to play as the 'clergy's arm'."