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November 20, 2006

Karachi Archdiocese to launch Urdu weekly


November 20, 2006

KARACHI: After successfully running an English weekly for eight decades, the Archdiocese of Karachi, which consists of a large population of Christians, is set to unveil an Urdu weekly, by the name of “Agahi”, the debut issue of which is planned for the Feast Day of Christ the King on November 26, 2006. The weekly will consists of a minimum of 8 pages plus 2 to 4 pages of announcements and advertisements.

Realising the importance of an Urdu weekly, Father Arthur Charles, a professor of Dogmatic Theology, the director of the Catechetical Centre and the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Karachi, took the initiative eight months back. “Majority of Christians in the city communicate in Urdu so we wanted to bring out a newsletter through which all the members of the community would benefit,” he said. It was learnt that official permission was granted to Fr. Arthur Charles after a meeting of the clergy of the Archdiocese under the leadership of Archbishop Evarist Pinto.

He said that the English weekly, The Christian Voice, of the Archdiocese already has an overseas subscription and serves those acquainted with the English language. “If the planned Urdu weekly successfully takes off, it will be the first such weekly not only in the Archdiocese of Karachi but in the whole of Pakistan.” The price of the newsletter would be Rs.5 per issue.

The Urdu weekly will be in the style and format of The Christian Voice. The contents will comprise of official news both from the Archbishop and the Holy See, news and views of interest from other dioceses, reports from around the world, and features focusing on biblical, theological, liturgical, moral and social issues. “Apart from highlighting religious activities and encouraging interfaith dialogue, we would make it a medium for the education and formation of our people,” explained Fr. Arthur Charles.

The Policy and Procedure Manuel for the weekly is ready and efforts are being made to get

it registered. “I have a much broader perspective of this mission. I want to make it a tool of learning. It will provide a platform for the community to express their views and many others may use it as a training field in various disciplines. I want to see it as a means which will give us future writers, reporters, editors, commentators, producers and analysts in the news media,” he added.

Direction of reputed journalists from the community was also sought for the proposal. He especially singled out Mr. Robin Fernandez, Mr. Desmond Carlton, Mr. Nadeem Julius Gill, Dr. Alfred Charles and Ms. Natasha D’Souza. “Members from all the parishes would be contributing and the advisory board of members would consist of not only the Catholics but Protestants and Muslims too. It aims to cater to everybody’s needs,” informed Mr. Charles.

On being questioned about the finances, he said that the economic burden would not be put on the Archdiocese. Although the monitory support would be needed for a short phase, he is confident that through this enterprise they will be able to generate enough revenue.

Appreciating the idea, Archbishop Pinto stressed on the need and importance to engage more actively in the Catholic and secular media. “I am absolutely convinced that the weekly will make our people feel that they belong to the Archdiocese and it will help them understand things in a better way and they will involve themselves in the affairs of the church,” said Archbishop Pinto.

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