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Akash Bashir, who died protecting Catholic worshippers in Pakistan, named a Servant of God

When a suicide bomber attempted to enter a Catholic church in Pakistan in 2015, a 20-year-old  volunteer security guard blocked him. 

“I will die but I will not let you go in,” he reportedly told the terrorist armed with explosives. The attacker then set off a bomb, immediately killing himself and the man now recognized as a candidate for canonization: Akash Bashir. 

Because of his actions, the church — with more than 1,000 Catholics inside — was saved from a direct blast.

Bashir died on March 15, 2015, when suicide bombers attacked St. John’s Catholic Church and Christ ‎Church of the Church of Pakistan. Located in Lahore, the churches stand in one of the country’s largest Christian neighborhoods.

Terrorist group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaatul Ahrar (TTP-JA) later claimed the attacks that killed 17 people and injured more than 70, Vatican News reported.

Those numbers might have been greater if Bashir had not guarded St. John’s Catholic Church.

Nearly seven years later, on Jan. 31, Archbishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore announced that the Vatican accepted Akash Bashir as a Servant of God, the title given to a candidate for the sainthood while his or her life and work is closely examined.

Read more at Catholic News Agency

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