The apostolic nuncio to Pakistan Archbishop Edgar Pena Parra has blessed what is now the largest Catholic church in the country.
Thousands of Catholics showered the nuncio and Archbishop Evarist Pinto of Karachi with rose petals on Wednesday as they drew up in a horse and cart at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in the southern port city.
“It is a sign of our growing faith and was a great challenge to make a structure which can hold so many people,” said Archbishop Pinto, urging parishioners to serve the Church with greater responsibility.
Archbishop Parra also shared a message from Pope Benedict XVI on the “abundance of divine mercy.”
Mass was concelebrated by 37 priests from around the country.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Karachi, with a seating capacity of 2,000, used to be the biggest Catholic church in the country.
However, St. Peter’s Church, which only took 11 months to complete, covers an area of 1,858 square meters and can seat 5,000 people.
It stands over 24 meters in height and each of its stained-glass windows bears Catholic symbols.
Funding for the project came from various sources including the Pontifical Mission Societies, Missio, Rothenberg diocese in Germany and the Italian Bishop’s Conference.
Archbishop Pena Parra also blessed the Chapel of Perpetual adoration, a glass chamber in one corner which will be available for prayers round the clock.
“The 24 hour chapel service is being introduced in Catholic churches around the country”, said Father Mario Rodrigues, assistant priest in St. Paul’s parish.