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Pakistan, 2021: William Arif Khan and security guards at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Lahore.
Catholic volunteer guards in Pakistan are preparing to defend their churches in the run-up to Easter, a time when Christian communities around the world face a heightened threat of terrorist attack.

With global concern peaking in the wake of the Palm Sunday (28th March) suicide bomb at a cathedral in Indonesia, William Arif Khan, who heads up a team of security volunteers in Lahore, stressed the need for extra vigilance.

Mr Khan, in charge of 15 security volunteers at Lahore’s Sacred Heart Cathedral, told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN): “For the past 12 years, I have been leading young men dedicated to support the 12 security guards stationed at the cathedral.
“We don’t expect any rewards… All of them are on the job and dedicate their holiday to the Church.” 

He added: “Everybody is afraid of the terrorists. But we stand for the one who protects us all. Our faith tells us that God won’t let us down.”

Mr Khan explained that the security arrangements are decided at the highest levels of both the Church and the police.

He said: “Archbishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore usually honours senior police officials for providing security at event masses… Security arrangements have strengthened Church ties with local police.”
 
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For many Christians around the world Easter is a dangerous time. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers this weekend in the hope that they, like us, will be able to celebrate the Resurrection in peace.

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