The Lasallian mission is obvious and vibrant
Br. Timothy Peter—Brother Visitor of the District of Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, and Papua New Guinea—has embarked on a canonical visit to the Pakistan sector. Br. Tim arrived in Lahore on the evening of Tuesday, 25 April and concluded his visit in Faisalabad on Thursday, 11 May. Rather than attending ceremonial activities, Br. Tim elected to spend his visit in classrooms and with ministry staff.
A canonical visit is a visit of an ecclesiastical superior to persons or places under his jurisdiction to maintain faith and address any concerns. This was Br. Tim’s first official canonical visit since assuming the position of Visitor of the District ANZPPNG in September 2022. Br. Tim’s visit was well timed—as the Pakistan sector continues to grow, it needs the full support of the District. Currently, there are 25 Pakistani Brothers serving 4 communities and 11 ministries across the sector. Pakistan has seen a steady increase in vocation over the past 20 years, and there are currently 20 aspirants, 1 postulant, and 2 novices in the sector’s House of Formation. Despite many challenges, the Pakistan mission remains strong, and there are hopes to expand the mission into other cities and regions.
Over the course of his visit, Br. Tim visited many locations throughout Pakistan’s Punjab province and the Gujranwala Division. After arriving in Lahore, he travelled to the city of Gujranwala, where he spent two days visiting St. Joseph’s Boys High School, St. Joseph’s Girls High School, and St. Joseph’s Hostel and met with the Brothers of the community. He then made the first of two visits to the village of Khushpur to meet with the Brothers and visit La Salle High School Khushpur before continuing to Multan on Sunday, 30 April. While in Khushpur, he also visited St. Albert’s Catechist Training Center on Saturday morning.
Br. Tim spent two days in Multan, meeting with the Brothers of the community and visiting the city’s numerous Lasallian institutions. This includes La Salle Higher Secondary School Multan, Alban’s Boys/Girls High School, and the St. Solomon School project site. St. Solomon School is a co-ed primary school serving 335 students from Prep to Grade 6 in Ahmadabad, a low-income neighbourhood on the outskirts of Multan. Recently, the school has undergone significant renovations as it transitions to a high school. In February, construction was completed on a new toilet block with two girls’ washrooms and a clean drinking water station for staff and students. Additionally, the school hall was converted into two Grade 8 classrooms and connected to the old school building via a newly constructed corridor.
From Multan, Br. Tim continued to Faisalabad, the third-largest city in Pakistan and the second-largest in the Punjab province after the capital of Lahore. In Faisalabad, Br. Tim visited several institutions, including La Salle High School & College, La Salle Boys High School Malkhanwala, La Salle Girls High School Gokhuwal, and La Salle Girls High School Sant Singh Wala. He also met with the community of Brothers in Faisalabad and visited the St. Miguel House of Formation.
On 7 May, Br. Tim made another visit to the Catechist Training Center and La Salle High School in Khushpur before returning to Faisalabad for a Jubilee Celebration and affiliation ceremony at La Salle High School Campus II—Faisalabad on 9 May. That afternoon, he joined Superior General Br. Armin Luistro and General Councilor Br. Ricky Laguda for the Pakistan Sector Brothers’ Assembly, which focused on the strengths, challenges, and hopes of the sector.
“I find Pakistan Schools and Communities a place for revitalization and contrast. The Brothers in Pakistan are all engaged in ministry in schools and also a Catechetical Centre. The school staff are very supportive and helpful. There is always a great celebration for visitors with cultural performances and colourful outfits (and headgear). Although there is a difference in spoken language, young people are inquisitive and always open to questions and answers. The Lasallian mission is obvious and vibrant in each of our Ministries. All school staff and students are very thankful for the support from Lasallians in Australia and New Zealand.” Br Tim said.
Despite its relatively smaller size, the Pakistan sector has many strengths, especially the diversity of the mission, self-sufficient and supporting schools, active lay partners, and strong formation and faith programs for the sector’s young people. Many Pakistani Brothers have either achieved a Master’s degree or are in the process of obtaining one, and the sector has contributed personnel to other sectors of the District. Almost 6,500 students—many from poor families—have been able to receive an education through Lasallian schools.
However, financial stability remains a major concern for the sector. The Pakistani economy as a whole is facing instability, and the sector is dependent on the support of ANZPPNG and RELAN. Financial instability places periphery schools at risk, endangering the academic future of thousands of children from low-income families. One of the sector’s main goals going forward is to develop a strategy for self-sufficiency and continued expansion. Before departing Pakistan on the evening of 11 May, Br. Tim met with Br Sajid Bashir, Pakistan Sector Coordinator, to debrief on his visit and develop a plan for how District leadership can support the Pakistan sector in bringing these hopes to fruition.