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Posts from Pakistan – 3.23.23

Posted on March 23, 2023, by Loretto Community

Dear Hearts,

Today, March 23, is Pakistan Resolution Day, marking the adoption of the first constitution of Pakistan. It is a holiday and it is also the first day of Ramadan. There’s a full joint inter-services military parade in Islamabad, but it’s a quiet day for us here in Lahore. We’ve been traveling to see Samina’s and Maria and Nasreen’s families.

Two young boys stand next to each other, the older one holding a small, white puppy.
Boys with their puppy.
Photo courtesy of Mary Ann McGivern SL
A top-down view of a low table holding plates of delicious food.
A sampling of the delicious food that was served.
Photo courtesy of Mary Ann McGivern SL

We drove first to Samina’s mother (Nasreen), brother Noki, wife Anela and 4 children — and a puppy.  Our house in Lahore received the puppy from the seminary and held him for a week to send on to Gujtar where they live. They gave us a lovely dinner, warned ahead of time that Anna and I needed somewhat milder fare than the rest. And they gave us gifts. Everyone gave us gifts, wherever we went.

Next we went to see Samina’s brother Shakeel, his wife Hamera and their son Isaiah. They served us tea and I’ll attach a photo of the food served. Shakeel is a metal craftsman and he took my camera and made photos of his workshop downstairs. We are functioning in two very different languages but these pictures are an example of our efforts to tell each other a little about ourselves — and always in the background are all the stories Samina has told of us and of them.

A man and woman stand platonically shoulder to shoulder, smiling and laughing.
Photo courtesy of Mary Ann McGivern SL

Next on to Yaqub’s house where supper is waiting!!!! Yaqub is one the brothers of Nasreen and Maria. He and his wife Razia have two sons, Rohaan who is 13 and Subhaan who is 17 and studying for state exams that will determine if he can enter medical school. Say a small prayer for him.

Next day we met Catherine, Maribah’s mother, and Moon, her brother.  Moon’s wife, Arifa, had been to see us in Lahore and when I hugged her, all of a sudden, all of the family made sense to me. Moon and Arifa have a daughter Ria and two sons Roshaan and Romaan.  Moon’s proper name is Kamran.

A woman stands, waving, at the gate in an old stone wall as other people walk through it.
Mary Ann and Anna tour the fort.
Photo courtesy of Mary Ann McGivern SL

The Daniels mostly live in Jhelum  and we took a side tour of a massive fort there. It predates Alexander the Great who’s horse died in battle there. Alexander was also badly wounded. That night Moon barbecued fish. Because this is a Muslim country, pork products are not available. It is easier to get liquor than pork.

Twenty people tour the ruins of an old fort in Pakistan, crossing through a vaulted stone gate in the wall.
The ancient fort.
Photo courtesy of Mary Ann McGivern SL

Which reminds me that Cardinal Joseph Coutts came to visit us on St. Patrick’s day. He was saying that once in a while a customs agent will say, “Oh, you’re a tourist”, as he looks at the bottle of liquor. “Have a nice stay”, will let the bottle in. Bacon not so much.

Cardinal Joe said Mass for us. In the homily and later at the table he spoke of our small minority Christian Church in Pakistan and the endurance of the community of faith. We had Bailey’s Irish cream in the house which we all shared. It was Friday and Maria baked a terrific fish, fresh-water farmed.

 I am eager to see you all and to talk with you about what I have seen. Pakistan is amazing and there is a lot to consider.


Mary Ann


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