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History of the Pakistan Mission

The Jesuits from the German province arrived in 1961. According to Fr. Robert Butler it was the Jesuits who took the initiatives to come to Lahore. They started their mission, living in a rented house and later they bought a house at 28 Waris Road.

In 1961, there were four Jesuits, Fr.Schulz-the superior, Fr. Butler, Fr. Schockert and Fr.Joseph Pays. After Fr. Schockert (1965) and Fr. Pays (1969) went to their eternal reward, three German scholastics Troll, Heinen and Bowering-joined the community for a short time. According to Fr. Butler, permission was given to the Jesuits to have only one house and they were allowed to run a hostel for the college and university students. They were not supposed to do any pastoral work or to promote any local vocations for the Society of Jesus.

From the beginning, the Jesuits were involved in different activities. Lecturers and professors from different schools, colleges and universities, were invited to Loyola Hall for regular intellectual discussions. The participants, who attended these discussions, formed the Metaphysical Society of which Fr. Butler was the moderator. He was also a member of the Catholic-Anglican Ecumenical committee. Fr. Schulz contributed much in the diocesan education board (1963 -1966) Fr. Butler was a member of the Iqbal academy of Lahore. He shared his knowledge with them through his talks and articles. Father Butler taught Arabic and Italian at the University of Punjab.

Fr. Buyser arrived in Lahore in 1977 to work in the mission. Father Jacob Fernando from Sri Lanka joined the community in February 1981.

The provincial of Australia wrote to Father Butler saying that four of his men would arrive soon. Two of them, Fr. Phil Kurts and Br. Renato arrived in 1984. Later of the same year year, Fr. Dan Madigan joined the community.

Lack of personnel for the mission inspired the Australian province, to close down the Pakistan Jesuit Mission forever. Until this time, neither Fr. General nor his regional assistant had visited the mission. Due to lack of proper information about the mission, Fr. General too agreed to the closing of the Mission. However, due to the efforts of Fr. Vernon Buyser, the visit of Fr. Dan Madigan to the Curia and also the incessant pleas of the then Bishop of Lahore Diocese, His Lordship Rt. Rev. Dr. Armando Trindade on behalf of the Jesuit presence in his diocese, Father General changed his mind and requested the Sri Lanka Province to consider the possibility of taking over the Pakistan Jesuit Mission. At the time two Jesuits from Sri Lanka were already serving the Mission. The offer of Pakistan Mission was made at a juncture when the Sri Lanka Province was already in a process of taking up a mission in Cameroun, Africa. The Provincial of Sri Lanka initiated a process of discernment in which a few cogent and favourable propositions that surfaced guided the decision in favour of retaining the mission under the guidance of Sri Lankan Province. Fr. General, on 22nd April 1988 officially assigned the Pakistan Mission to the Province of Sri Lanka.

Fr. Kurts and Br. Renato left Lahore in 1988 and Fr. Dan Madigan in 1989. Fr. Nissanka, an energetic young man, came to Lahore in 1989. After becoming an ordained priest, Renato once again joined the community in November 1993. In 1996, August Fr. Kingsley from the Sri Lankan province joined the community. Fr. Buyser, after being Superior for ten long years, went for his sabbatical in 1997. When he came back in the following year, he announced that he would be going back to the province for good.

In 1995, the community decided to promote local vocations. Several young men joined us. As the Lord said many are called but few are chosen, of those who came to stay with us many discontinued at different levels. With the grace of God, one continued to be faithful to his call. If it is Gods will, we will be blessed with the first Pakistani Jesuit in the year 2009.