Karachi’s Christians content with online Easter mass

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KARACHI: No church bells rang on Easter Sunday in Karachi. But there were lights, cameras and a bit of action at the St Patrick’s Cathedral because the mass was to be viewed live online by the thousands of Christians ready with their laptops and PCs at home.

Father Aamir Bhatti of the Catholic Christian Good News TV channel, a web channel, had asked the church to allow him to record and broadcast services throughout Lent and now he was at the Cathedral to ensure a smooth live streaming of the Sunday mass.

“Earlier, we also broadcast a recorded Easter message from His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Coutts. We had recorded it after the Good Friday service to air on Easter Sunday,” Father Bhatti told.

About his experience of recording the services, Father Bhatti said he knew he had to do this during the pandemic lockdown. “Even if they could not be in church to attend mass, we had to do something to make them spiritually attend the Pak mass, and we are grateful that we were granted permission to make it possible,” he said.

“We are receiving so many blessings in the form of personal messages for our work now from not just people in Pakistan but also abroad,” he said, adding that they were able to record the mass using two cameras. “We had two cameras, handled by professional cameramen. We had brought with us extra lights too but they were not needed as the St Patrick’s Cathedral has good natural light.”

In his message to Catholics on Easter, Joseph Cardinal Coutts focused on how healthy people can play their part in helping those affected by the coronavirus pandemic. “Everyone is worried these days. Some are sick, some have relatives who are sick and some have lost loved ones. There are also so many who have lost their means of earning because of the lockdown. But I am so glad to see in my city Karachi there are not just Christians helping Christians, there are also Muslims helping Christians in their time of need,” he said.

“So my message this Easter is not just for Christians, it is for all you human beings to not lose heart but open your hearts. Keep the faith. Happy Easter!”

Stephan, a young father of two, also said that although his wife and he understood the importance of staying home, the children did not understand. “They are still little and don’t understand the crisis we are in. But their Easter was made when the pastor of our neighbourhood church in Azam Basti visited our home in the morning. He called one child at a time to bless and the children were so happy, they had never experienced anything like this before,” he said.

“Easter Sunday is a big day for Christians. It may be hard for everyone to not come to church this year to celebrate, but praying at home in solitude also helps one feel close to the Lord. You have lots of time to meditate, too, and think,” he said.

“We priests are always working with the people but this Easter even I found time to pray alone and reflect. God is everywhere, and watching. Respect each other, support each other as you celebrate the mysteries and miracles of God.”

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