In an unprecedented move, Pakistan’s state-run news channel PTV ran a live broadcast of an Easter Mass in the Muslim-majority nation.
Archbishop Joseph Arshad, who celebrated the Mass at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Rawalpindi on April 12, thanked the national channel for broadcasting the Mass on both PTV World and PTV News.
Jamshed Masih, a Christian teacher, said it was a blessing for him to watch the Mass live on national channels. He told his grandchildren that nothing could stop them from worshiping Our Lord.
“It is all the sweeter that our suffering unites with his during the coronavirus pandemic,” Masih told UCA News.
Allama Muhammad Ahsan Siddiqui, chairman of the Interfaith Commission for Peace and Harmony, welcomed the government’s initiative to run a live broadcast of an Easter Mass.
“It’s a positive development indeed. I was in contact with several bishops myself. Minorities are equal citizens of Pakistan and deserve to be given airtime on state-run channels,” Siddiqui told UCA News.
The move came as bishops in Pakistan agreed to keep churches shut during Easter celebrations because of the coronavirus lockdown.
“We have to follow and implement the health guidelines released by the health experts, government and church leaders,” Archbishop Arshad told the Mass.
“The trust in God strengthens us in our faith and helps us overcome our difficulties and sufferings. Easter, the feast of the resurrection of Jesus, eliminates all types of fear and anxiety from our lives, and conveys the message of life.
“While celebrating the joy of Easter, let us also not forget all those affected who are suffering due to the Covid-19 epidemic. We pray for all who have lost their lives and their families. We entrust all the sick and suffering in the hands of God. May Almighty God protect them and grant them good health.”
Archbishop Arshad prayed for health workers taking care of coronavirus patients and blessed Pakistan for its efforts to tackle the pandemic.