Daniel Bashir, who coordinates young lay missionaries, is about to enter the seminary. As a child he could not speak and this gave him pain in the heart. It “is in the Bible that we find the answers to our questions.” He urges young people “to be reconciled with the Lord through the sacrament of confession."
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Daniel Bashir, 28, is national youth coordinator of Jesus Youth, a movement of the lay missionaries of Pakistan. He was in Rome to represent the young people of his country at the Pre-Synod on young people that was recently held in the Vatican.
A graduate in medicine, he plans to enter the seminary in June to begin his journey towards the priesthood. He spoke to AsiaNews.
"I decided to give my life to serve God because he saved me,” he said. "I could not but dedicate my life to the Lord. He saved me when I was alone, without friends, ashamed because I could not speak well and angry with myself.”
Things changed “in 2003 when my mother took me to church and, in front of Eucharistic Christ, I entrusted myself to him to heal me. And without the help of doctors, little by little I began to speak again."
Daniel says he has had speech problems since birth. "I could not speak well and I communicated with my mother by gestures. With a simple gesture, she understood what I wanted. But in that situation, I had no friends, I was totally hopeless. I felt ashamed and felt pain in my heart.”
But “One day I went to church and I heard the priest's message. It was before Pentecost and the disciples were alone, but then the Holy Spirit descended upon them and reunited with the Virgin Mary."
At that moment, "I felt I was in the same situation: I had no friends, I was alone and so fearful in my heart. I turned to the Christ of the Eucharist and told him: 'I am an instrument in your hands, please use me'. From that day on I started to improve little by little. It was a great miracle in my life."
The vocational call "came on 2 on December 2012, as I was at a bringing together young people in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. I had to speak in front of an audience of 300 people and I realised how many steps I had taken since I had even spoken.
"I started to cry because I knew it was all Christ's work. I felt God's grace above me and I understood that I wanted to serve him and become a priest. My family supported me in this decision, even though they pushed me to finish my studies first. Now, thank God, I am a doctor and I can be a priest to serve the sick."
For years the young man was active in a group of lay missionaries. The work allowed him to travel to different Asian countries and meet other people like him.
"As a Catholic missionary, I visited several cities in Pakistan and went to Thailand, Sri Lanka and also to the Arab Emirates for a year.
"With the help of the bishops, we organise Bible studies meetings ". The reason, he explained, "is that on earth we have three tasks: to know, to love and to serve God. And it is in the Bible that we find the answers to our questions."
As a Catholic leader, "I urge other young people to come to church, attend mass and be reconciled with the Lord through the sacrament of confession."
In Pakistan, "the Church is very active thanks to the attitude of the bishops, who have great plans for the young. Furthermore, in 2018 we celebrate the Year of the Eucharist, focusing on two aspects: adoration and confession."
As for preaching the Gospel, "this is very easy in the country thanks to the various television channels that spread the Christian message at all hours, showing the celebration of mass, prayers and liturgical services.
“I hope young people get more involved in the Church, but also in studies because today, in Pakistani society, professional figures among Catholics are missing.”
Lastly, with respect to recent cases of blasphemy, "one must be very careful with the use of social media,” Daniel said. “As Pakistani Catholics, we must respect the country and the official religion of the nation in which we live. We must respect the religions of others and demand respect for ours."