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Pakistan’s first “Servant of God” saved others in church bombing

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Amjad Ali | Anadolu Agency | AFP

Philip Kosloski - published on 02/04/22

Akash Bashir took down a terrorist, shielding others from the suicide bombing of a Catholic church.

The Vatican recently accepted the cause for canonization of Akash Bashir, a heroic 20-year-old who shielded others from a suicide terrorist attack.

Born on June 22, 1994, in Risalpur, Nowshera, Bashir was an alumnus of Don Bosco Technical Institute and volunteered to be a security guard at a Catholic church.

According to Vatican News, “On March 15, 2015, two suicide bombers blew themselves up near St. John’s Catholic Church and the nearby Christ ‎Church of the Church of Pakistan in Lahore’s predominantly Christian neighbourhood of Youhanabad, as the faithful were gathered inside for Sunday worship during Lent.‎”

However, Bashir was stationed outside the church and noticed a suicide bomber approaching the church.

He reportedly said,

I will die, but I will not let you go in.

Akash Bashir

The Salesians of Don Bosco narrate what happened outside the church.

The suicide bomber approached the entrance and tried violently to get past the two young guards. When Akash stopped him he noticed the explosives hidden under his jacket. He grabbed hold of the attacker and the lower part of his body was blown off in the explosion, but saved the lives of many other people. 

His sacrifice saved many lives that day, as the bomber was denied access to the church building, where over 1,000 Catholics were worshipping.

This marks the first native Pakistani Catholic to be considered for sainthood. It is the first step of the process, which will include an examination of his life and a review of his martyrdom, which would be classified under the new category that Pope Francis inaugurated in 2017.

In the document, Maiorem hac dilectionem (“Greater love than this”), a fourth path for the canonization of saints was established, a path titledoblatio vitae, “the offering of one’s life.”

Bashir freely gave his life for others, becoming a human shield that prevented a massacre.

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