The first Catholic to be set on the path to sainthood in Islamic Pakistan is a young Catholic who daringly sacrificed his life at the prime age of 20. It shows a pattern that Pope Francis follows: provide newer models of faith from wider societies for Catholics of this age, and in their own cultures.
Young Pakistani Akash Bashir stopped a Taliban-supported suicide bomber from entering his St. John’s Church in Youhanabad, Lahore, fully aware that the attacker had a bomb attached to his body. The 2015 explosion, just outside the church, killed the attacker, Bashir, and two others.
In a country beset with terrorist attacks and hate crimes against Christians, Servant of God Bashir’s life stands out as a model for Catholic youth across the world. Pope Francis has been keen on citing such life examples to tell the world that a heroic Catholic life is possible and happening even in this age of ours.