Father James Channan addresses the Interfaith Conference 2019 in Lahore on May 17. (Photo courtesy of Father Channan) A Catholic priest has been honored by the Pakistan government for his “exemplary services” to promote interfaith harmony and peace in his own country and worldwide.

Father James Channan, a Dominican who has spent 50 years following the spirituality of St. Dominic, received an award at the Interfaith Conference 2019 in Lahore on May 17 that was attended by more than 300 people including Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs.

Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, Pakistan’s federal minister for religious affairs and interfaith harmony, presented the award.
“Many people helped me to reach this place. I praise God, the Church, my community of Ibn-e-Mariam Vice Province of Pakistan, and all my friends,” said Father Channan.
“I especially thank my Muslim friends who always supported me and my work and keep on appreciating me to continue my mission to promote peace and harmony among the people of Pakistan.
“I am actively serving in this mission to build bridges between Christians and the people of other religions, especially with our Muslim brethren, but still I see there is an urgent need for interfaith dialogue.”

Father Channan said his work to promote peace and interfaith harmony brings him peace and mental satisfaction.
“I keep on thinking about ways to bring people of various faiths together, to help them to nurture and strengthen peace among them,” he said.
“Everybody is my neighbor, and being a follower of Jesus Christ I have to love everybody — it keeps me motivated and zealous. We always have to share this message that we are one human family, following different religions and faiths but living our faiths we have to promote love, unity and peace.”

President of Pakistan Dr Arif-Ur-Rehman Alawi presented the National Peace Award 2019 to Fr.James Channan OP for his great services to promote peace and interfaith harmony among different religions in Pakistan. President of Pakistan appreciated and congratulated to Fr.James Channan OP that he worked to provide facility to the people of different professions and age groups to come together for dialogue, which helps to remove discrimination, fundamentalism and extremism from our society.

Fr.James Channan OP Director Peace Center Lahore & Regional Coordinator URI Pakistan said that I feel much honored to be invited for this conference. This conference is of prime important during the times we are going through. Pakistan is a country of believers of different religions. Religious minorities reflect the beauty of our country. Such interfaith encounters offer opportunities to build bridges of respect tolerance, compassion and acceptance among religions. Such encounters help to break the walls of violence, discrimination and non acceptance of the other. It is wonderful to see that such kinds of conferences are being organized around the globe.

Your Excellency, in Pakistan efforts of interfaith and Christian-Muslim dialogue is bearing much fruit but much more is needed. My recommendation is that reject all forms of terrorism and radicalism, rejects hate material and speeches, prohibits misuse of loud speakers, and strongly recommends full participation of women in every field of full protection to minorities in following their religion and having freedom of religions and expression.

We extend congratulation to all members of the URI family in the world for the recognition and appreciation of the interfaith dialogue and peace activities done and promoted by the URI members in Pakistan. Long live URI!

The URI Family has sent the Congratulation and appreciation messages to Fr.James Channan OP and Mr. Asher Nazir.