In an atmosphere of immense joy, devotion and prayer, those present listened attentively to the remembrance of the death of the Servant of God Akash Bashir, which occurred exactly 7 years earlier on March 15, 2015. The three members of the Tribunal and Vice-Postulator Fr Gabriel Cruz SDB took their oath of office. The message sent by the World President of the Confederation of Past Pupils of Don Bosco, Bryan Magro, was also read.
The Eucharistic Celebration was presided over by the Archbishop of Lahore, Msgr. Sebastian Francis Shaw, O.F.M., having as Honorary Concelebrant the Apostolic Nuncio in Pakistan, Msgr. Christophe Zakhia El-Kassis, as well as all the members of the Pakistani Episcopal Conference. Priests from all the parishes of the diocese, representatives of all the religious congregations of the country as well as seminarians, Salesian alumni, and students of the Salesian Institute devoutly participated in the solemn Eucharist.
As a special guest, there was also the Anglican Bishop of Lahore, with several Protestant faithful, who joined in the joy of the event by celebrating in a heartfelt ecumenical ceremony the grace of being Christian brothers and sisters. On March 15, 2015, the Protestant church had also been hit by a terrorist attack.
The Apostolic Nuncio to Pakistan deeply thanked the Bashir family for the gift of life and death of their son Akash, as well as the effort and dedication of the Salesian Congregation to make this process possible. He specifically addressed the crowd of young people present, reminding them that life is a gift that flourishes day by day through service and prayer and that God values the courage of young people who, like Akash, can defend the faith and give their lives for the salvation of many.
He reminded them that Pope Francis encourages everyone to be holy and that we are all called to achieve holiness. Bishop El Kassis encouraged the young people to give their lives for Jesus day by day, through a daily life of service and prayer, taking Akash Bashir as a model and intercessor.
March 15, 2015, is now remembered not as a day of mourning and suffering, but rather as a gift from God, the gift of the martyrdom of Akash Bashir, a 20-year-old who demonstrated to the world the power of service and the incalculable value of faith. March 15 is now a day of joy, unity, prayer, and hope for the Christian minority in Pakistan.