CATHOLICISM IN PAKISTAN

The Roman Catholic Church in Pakistan is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope and curia in Rome. Pope John Paul II visited Pakistan on February 16, 1981.There are over one million Catholics in Pakistan, which represents less than 1% of the total population. There are 7 ecclesiastical units in Pakistan comprising 2 archdioceses, 4 dioceses, and one Apostolic Vicariate, all Latin Rite.

The Catholic Church in Pakistan is also active in education managing leading schools likeSaint Patrick's High School, Karachi, health and other social aspects of daily life in addition to its spiritual work. The Catholic Church runs 534 schools, 53 hostels, 8 colleges, 7 technical institutes and 8 catechetical centers, according to 2008 statistics. Joseph Cordeiro, Archbishop of Karachi, became the first (and thus far only) Pakistani Cardinal elevated to the position by Pope Paul VI on 5 Mar 1973.

Pope John Paul II received the President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf in a private audience in the Vatican on 30 September 2004. In 2004 President Pervez Musharraf began hosting an annual Christmas dinner as an expression of seasonal goodwill.

For the first time in the country's history, Shahbaz Bhatti, a Catholic, became the federal minister for minorities in 2008.Bhatti was assassinated February 2011. Pope Benedict XVI met the Roman Catholic bishops of Pakistan on June 19, 2008. The bishops were in Rome for their ad limina visit.

Roman Catholic Ecclesiastical Provinces( CATHOLIC DIOCESES)

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Lahore

Roman Catholic Diocese of Faisalabad

Roman Catholic Diocese of Islamabad-Rawalpindi

Roman Catholic Diocese of Multan

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Karachi

Roman Catholic Diocese of Hyderabad

Apostolic Prefecture of Quetta

Roman Catholic Diocese of Islamabad-Rawalpindi

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Islamabad-Rawalpindi (Lat: Dioecesis Islamabadensis-Ravalpindensis) is a diocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church in Pakistan.The diocese has a long history, as it was originally erected in 1887, as the Apostolic Prefecture of Kafiristan and Kashmir. The prefecture was erected from the Diocese of Lahore.In 1947, the Apostolic prefecture was elevated to a full diocese, and renamed the diocese of Rawalpindi.

In 1952, Kashmir was lost to the diocese, and a new diocese created from territory in Rawalpindi and Lahore to create the Apostolic Prefecture of Kashmir and Jammu.

In 1979, the name was changed to the Diocese of Islamabad-Rawalpindi. The diocese is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Lahore. It comprises the Rawalpindi Division, the Sargodha Division, the whole Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province, the FATA (Federal Administrated Tribal Areas), Azad Kashmir and the Northern Areas, Gujrat District of Gujranwala Division. At the time there were only 16 priests to minister to the Catholics in the diocese.

The principal church of the diocese is the St. Joseph's Cathedral, Rawalpindi.

The Diocese has a population of about 35 million, including 250,000 Catholics many of whom are committed to education (through its more than 70 schools like the Catholic Public High School in Sangota, in the Swat Valley), training institutes and hospitals.

In 1996 the Diocese opened Our Lady of Lourdes Minor Seminary which is its preparatory seminary.

In 2009, 31 priests served a declining population of 180,000 Catholics. The third largest Catholic diocese of Pakistan is divided into 19 parishes. The former vicar general of Faisalabad diocese, Father Rufin Anthony, was appointed Coadjutor Bishop to Bishop Anthony Theodore Lobo of the Diocese of Islamabad-Rawalpindi by Pope Benedict XVI on August 4, 2009. He succeeded Bishop Lobo as Bishop of Islamabad-Rawalpindi upon the acceptance by Benedict of Lobo's resignation on Thursday, February 18, 2010.

In August 2010 the heaviest rains in 80 years caused the worst flooding the country has ever seen, affecting much of the Diocese.Catholic Relief Services, Pakistan had to evacuate staff quarters in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa region due to the flooding in the province. A team of Caritas Pakistan also travelled to Peshawar to assess the situation and follow up with relief aid. The Sisters of theDaughters of St. Paul congregation also distributed religious as well as food items in Nowshera, one of the 10 districts in Pakistan most severely affected by the floods.

According to a well founded tradition the Apostle St. Thomas has preached the Gospel in the city of Taxila which is 20 miles from Rawalpindi. According to some other historians, however, it was St. Bartholomew who started the evangelization of these regions. In the last century, chaplains of the British Army established Catholic communities in Rawalpindi and Peshawar, In 1887, the territory was erected into the Prefecture of Kafiristan and Kashmir, and entrusted to the St. Joseph's Society for Foreign Missions, now called Mill Hill Fathers' he present Diocese was established on July 10, 1947. In 1952 part of Kashmir was separated from the Diocese and together with Jammu became a new Apostolic Prefecture. The Diocese of Islamabad-Rawalpindi comprises the following civil boundaries: the Rawalpindi Division, the Sargodha Division, the whole North West Frontier Province, the FATA (Federal Administrated Tribal Areas), the Azad Kashmir and the Northern Areas, Gujrat District of Gujranwala Division.

Past and Present Ordinaries

Domenico Wagenaar, M.H.M. † ( 1901 Appointed - 1915 Died)

Robert J. Winkley, M.H.M. † (24 Oct 1916 Appointed - 1 Nov 1930 Died)

Giuseppe Patrizio O'Donohoe, M.H.M. † (26 Jan 1934 Appointed - 1947 Died)

Nicholas Hettinga, M.H.M. † (10 Jul 1947 Appointed - 17 Dec 1973 Resigned)

Simeon Anthony Pereira † (17 Dec 1973 Appointed - 22 Mar 1993 Appointed, Coadjutor Archbishop of Karachi)

Anthony Theodore Lobo (28 May 1993 Appointed - 18 Feb 2010 Resigned)

Rufin Anthony (18 Feb 2010 Succeeded - )