Vatican City (Fides Service) – The Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, has, 12 December 2003, appointed Auxiliary Bishop for the Apostolic Vicariate of Arabia (Arabian Peninsula) Reverend Paul Hinder OFM Cap., Definitor General of the Order, assigning to him the Titular See of Macon.
The Bishop elect was born in Lanterswill-Steherenberg, diocese of Basel (Switzerland), on 22 April 1942. He was educated by the Capuchin Fathers in Appenzel and then study philosophy and theology in Solothurn. He made his perpetual profession as a member of the Order of Friars Minor on 18 September 1966, and was ordained a priest on 4 July 1967. Since then he has ministered as follows: pastoral work as Vicar in Basel (1968-1969); studies in Canon Law at the University of Munich and Friburg (1969-1976); Head of initial Formation in Friburg for the French-speaking Province (1970-1979); professor of Canon Law at the Order’s College in Solothurn (1972-1981); Provincial Vicar in Friburgo (1975-1982); Novice Master and Vicar in Lucerne (1978-1981); Provincial Minister of Switzerland (1988-1994); Vice-President of the Officers of Capuchin Friars International (1993-2000). Since 2001 Definitor General of the Order.
The Apostolic Vicariate of Arabia (1889) entrusted to the Capuchins, is the largest ecclesiastical circumscription in the world. It has an area of 3.143.669 sq. km and it comprises 6 nations (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Yemen), and a population of 42.250.000, of whom 1.400.000 are Catholics (mostly immigrant workers). There are 20 parishes and church personnel consists of 40 priests (24 Capuchins, 5 Salesians, 2 Carmelites, 9 diocesan clergy), 68 women religious. The Sisters run homes for old people and orphans and people with disabilities. Catholic religious also teach in 6 large schools, in Bahrain and in the United Arab Emirates, with about 12.000 pupils (60% Muslim, 36% Christian 4% Hindu). School programmes include three hours of religious instruction a week. (S.L.) (Fides Service 22/12/2003; lines 23; words 292)