Skip to content
Deacon Keith Fournier Hi reader, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Evangelizing Arabia: Parish life in Abu Dhabi

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

By (CNA/EWTN)
2/4/2019 (8 months ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

On Tuesday, Pope Francis will visit St. Joseph's Cathedral in Abu Dhabi -- one of two total Catholic churches for the Arabian city with a population of 1.42 million.

Highlights

By (CNA/EWTN)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
2/4/2019 (8 months ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Evangelizing Arabia, Parish life, Abu Dhabi


Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, (CNA/EWTN News) - While few in number, parishes in the United Arab Emirates are remarkably diverse and bring together Catholic traditions and devotions from across the Middle East, South Asia, and the rest of the universal Church.

In St. Joseph's Cathedral, for example, Masses are celebrated in Arabic, English, French, Filipino, Malayalam, Sinhalese, Urdu, Tamil, Konkani, German, Italian, Korean, Polish, and Ukrainian for its 100,000 expatriate parishioners.

St. Joseph's parish was the only Catholic church in Abu Dhabi for more than 50 years, until St. Paul's Catholic Church opened in the city's Musaffah district in 2015.

The new church's property spans 49,000 square feet and includes a three-story building that houses a multipurpose hall, a residence for priests, and meeting rooms.

Dario Mobini, a contributing editor for WorldYouthDay.com, visited St. Paul's a few months after its inauguration. Mobini told CNA that he found great hope in seeing so many people in the church's perpetual adoration chapel in a country where Catholicism is a minority.

"What an amazing concept to think that there is perpetual adoration going on in a church in the middle of Abu Dhabi," Mobini said. "There is a lot of hope that we can see in this small country in the Middle East."

Mobini also visited St. Mary's Catholic Church in Dubai, where he was impressed by the "very strong and active lively youth group."

St. Mary's hosted the first Catholic Youth Conference of Arabia, an initiative to create a greater sense of a united community among the peninsul's young Catholics.

Since 2009, the UAE has hosted two additional Arabian Catholic Youth Conferences (ACYC) in 2012 and 2018 with between 1,000 and 1,500 Catholics traveling from Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Jordan to attend the "festival of faith" with Catholic speakers, authors, and musicians.

Mobini was joyfully surprised to be reunited with a group of about 100 young St. Mary's parishioners in Panama this year at World Youth Day.

"When I was in Panama, the group from the United Arab Emirates was excited to be there to celebrate their faith with others. It really was a sign of great hope due to the fact that maybe in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, you might not be able to see the beauty of the faith freely expressed in such a way that World Youth Day allows it to be," he said.

The Mass Pope Francis will celebrate Feb. 5 during his two-day trip to Abu Dhabi will make history as the first public outdoor Mass on the peninsula, where each country has restrictions on the freedom of worship.

"Individuals belonging to non-Islamic faiths said they could worship in private without government interference but faced restrictions on practicing their religion in public," according to the U.S. State Department.

The official religion of the United Arab Emirates is Islam with a Sunni Muslim majority. About 12.6 percent of the total population is Christian, according to the Pew Research Center. The focus of the pope's visit is interreligious dialogue, particularly with Islam, and includes a meeting with the Muslim Council of Elders and a visit to the great mosque of Abu Dhabi.

Mobini said that he hopes that "Pope Francis will be able to stir and shake the heart of men there so that we can build a community that really reflects the values of human dignity and human life." 


Comments


More Middle East

Bishops in Middle East urge prayer for northern Syria Watch

Image of Smoke rises from the Syrian town of Ras al Ayn during the Turkish offensive against Kurdish groups in northeastern Syria Oct. 17 2019 as seen from Turkey.

Bishops in Syria and Iraq have called for worldwide prayer as fighting between Turkish and Kurdish forces further destabilizes northern ... continue reading


Moroccan king pardons woman who procured abortion, those who participated Watch

Image of Dr. Mohammed Jamal Belkeziz leaves the prison in Sale Oct 16 2019. He was pardoned after being sentenced to two years imprisonment for performing an abortion.

Morocco's king pardoned Wednesday a journalist, her fiance, and the medical team who last month were found guilty of procuring and ... continue reading



Syrian Christians face new threat from Turkey, human rights group warns Watch

Image of

Endangered Christian populations in the Middle East face renewed risks as the United States removes troops from Syria, a leading human ... continue reading


How a Palestinian village sheds light on the drama of Christians in the Holy Land Watch

Image of

Jifna is a Palestinian village in the West Bank, just 5 miles north of Ramallah - the de facto capital of the Palestinian Authority - and ... continue reading


Pompeo meets pope to discuss religious freedom, Middle East Christians Watch

Image of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Pope Francis met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss the preservation of Christian communities in the Middle East and the ... continue reading


Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.