12/04/2019, 17.48
PAKISTAN
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Karachi couple celebrate son's first birthday with 70 slum children

by Shafique Khokhar

The idea was inspired by the local archbishop’s Advent message to “keep your eyes open for the needs of the poor". The parents and their four-year-old daughter served the guests. The guests also received small gifts. The father is happy “that we are bringing up good Christian kids”.

Karachi (AsiaNews) - Instead of celebrating in a hotel only with friends and family, a Catholic couple in Karachi decided to celebrate their son's first birthday by offering a meal to 70 slum kids.

Last Sunday, Othniel (lion of God), son of Kashif Anthony, an activist, and Mariyam, a teacher, blew out his first candle in a room full of boisterous and joyful children. Both parents and their four-year-old daughter Myra served the guests.

“Our contribution is like a drop in the ocean,” said the father, “but now others can do the same. This is applying the Gospel to everyday life.”

The couple told AsiaNews that the idea was inspired by listening to Card Joseph Coutts’s Advent message in which the Archbishop of Karachi urges Christians to "keep your eyes open for the needs of the poor".

For the cardinal. Advent “helps us find Jesus in the needs of others and is much more satisfying than anything else in the world.” Indeed, helping “those who are helpless and need our supporting hand for their uplift” is key. “Even our tiny steps of lending our supporting hands can bring some seraphic smiles on the faces of poor and needy children.”

Mariyam said that when she told her daughter Myra about ​​celebrating her little brother's birthday with poor children from a nearby school, she was immediately enthusiastic.

“’Yes mother,’ she said. ‘We will go and feed them and Jesus will help us.’ When we heard these words, we felt even more encouraged. My husband, my daughter and myself handed out the food to the children. With this we want to teach our children that there are less privileged people. This is why we must stay with them and support them.”

Some of the 70 children live in tents; others in the slums around the city. Their parents are unable to pay for school and other expenses necessary for them to grow up.

For Kashif, a “traditional birthday party with all family members would have been less joyful than being with the children. The smile we saw on their face of gave us inner peace and we will never forget it. Our children played with them and even brought some presents.”

"We are really happy that we are bringing up good Christian kids who are following the teachings of Christ and creating special moments for those who have fewer opportunities.”

“Every child has the right to an education and to food,” the Catholic man stressed. “We know that our country is going through a difficult period. Through such gestures we can contribute to its prosperity. We must help our people and the nation to come out of this situation.”

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