The Archdiocese of Lahore in Pakistan opened on Tuesday, March 15, the cause for the beatification of a Catholic security guard who stopped a suicide bomber from entering a church in 2015.
“The diocesan process is very important to discover what was hidden in the heart of this young man,” said Archbishop Christophe Zakhia El-Kassis, apostolic nuncio to Pakistan.
Akash Bashir, a lay Catholic volunteer, died a martyr at the age of 20 on March 15, 2015, when he prevented a suicide bomber from entering a Catholic church in Pakistan.
In February, the The Archdiocese of Lahore announced that the Vatican accepted the cause of Akash’s martyrdom.
Akash was born on June 22, 1994, in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
“It is something very touching that someone at the beginning of his life, flourishing, discovers that something is greater than the earthly life,” said Archbishop El-Kassis.
“He understood this without theology, philosophy and many things through his simple life,” added the prelate.
Father Francis Gulzar, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Lahore, said that Akash “offered his life as a sacrifice to save the lives of the Christian community at St. John’s Catholic Church.”
Akash is the first Pakistani Christian who has been raised to the rank of the “Holy People of God.”
Akash, an alumnus of Don Bosco Technical Institute, served as a volunteer security guard at St. John’s Catholic Church.
“I will die but I will not let you go in,” he supposedly told the bomber who detonated the explosives, killing himself Akash and two others outside the church.
In a statement following the attack, Pope Francis decried the persecution of Christians in the country.
“Our brothers and sisters are spilling their blood solely because they are Christians,” he said.
Archbishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore described Akash as “a soldier of Jesus.”