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KARACHI, Pakistan (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Catholic bishops of Pakistan are making 2018 the Year of the Eucharist.
The Year of the Eucharist opened on November 25 with a Mass at St. Patrick Cathedral in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city. Many of the bishops of Pakistan were present for the Mass.
Pope Francis wrote a letter to the Church in Pakistan for the occasion, stating, "I am confident that this year will offer a privileged opportunity to grow in love for the Eucharistic sacrifice, the source and summit of the Christian life."
Vatican news outlet Agenzia Fides got comments from the president of Pakistan's bishops' conference, Abp. Joseph Arshad of the archdiocese of Islamabad-Rawalpindi. Archbishop Arshad told the press, "Pakistani Christians have to face multiple challenges. Every new day challenges increase of a social, cultural and religious nature for the small community of faithful in Pakistan. In this framework, the Year of the Eucharist will be a source of the fullness of life and joy."
The Pakistani bishops' Commission for the Liturgy is headed by Bp. Benny Travas. He told Agenzia Fides, "To celebrate the Year of the Eucharist is an urgency of this time. We must return to the roots of our faith and the Eucharist, teaching the faithful to have a personal relationship with the Eucharistic Lord and to guide the faithful to celebrate the Eucharist worthily and fully."
Bishop Travas continued, "The miraculous power of the Eucharist will enable us to promote the culture of love, unity, peace and harmony and to be witnesses of Christ's Eucharistic love in Pakistan."
Christians in Pakistan are indeed a small minority in the Muslim-majority country. Blasphemy laws are often used to imprison and often execute Christians, sometimes on fictitious, trumped-up charges. Pakistan has a population of nearly 200 million but less than 4 million are Christians or about two percent of the total population.
The theme for the Year of the Eucharist is "I am the bread of life," said by Christ Jesus in John 6:35 — part of a passage known as the Bread of Life Discourse.