ASIA/QATAR - A sign of hope and unity for the Catholic community celebrated in the first Christian place of worship in the Country

Monday, 8 January 2024

Doha (Agenzia Fides) - "The solemn Mass celebrated by the Catholic Church in Qatar on January 1, 2024 is intended to be a sign of hope and unity for the Catholic community, bringing together people of different ethnic groups and nationalities, of different languages and various Catholic rites," said Vicar Apostolic of Northern Arabia, Bishop Aldo Berardi, O.SS.T., who, in the presence of 30,000 participants in all the Masses of the day, presided over the solemn Mass in the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary in Doha.

The Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, founded in 2006, is the first Catholic church approved in Qatar at the request of the ambassadors present in the country, particularly the French ambassador, and built on land donated by Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. It was inaugurated on March 15, 2008 by Cardinal Ivan Dias, then Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. "It is a large church near the new airport," emphasizes Bishop Berardi, "and it is located in a 'religious complex' in which there are also Protestant, Indian, Coptic and Orthodox churches." “The Catholic church is the largest in this religious complex and we would like to build another one in another area of the Country. On Fridays it is incredible, so many Catholics come to mass, Orthodox, Copts, Protestants and believers from Indian churches. The area around it has developed. Indian and Filipino schools were built," reports the Apostolic Vicar.

During the solemn Mass on January 1, the parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary, Father Xavier D'Souza, thanked Bishop Berardi for celebrating this Eucharist at the beginning of the New Year 2024. "We thank him for his tireless efforts in leading our community," he said. The priest then thanked the Emir, the Prime Minister, the entire Royal Family of Qatar and the people of Qatar for their benevolence in providing all the necessary facilities and permits for the services, as well as all government and security agencies.

Father D’Souza expressed his gratitude to the Deputy Director of the Office of the Secretary-General for Service Affairs, Mariam Nasser Al Hail, "who is instrumental in obtaining special permits and providing all necessary support for our services here."

"The situation in the Vicariate of Northern Arabia, which includes Barhain, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, varies depending on the country, with its diversity of laws, cultures, tribes and more or less deeply rooted Muslim tendencies," concluded the Vicar Apostolic.

The Vicar Apostolic and parish priest, Father Alber Joseph of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites, OCD celebrated Mass on January 1 together with Father Kachappilly and Father Biju Thomas OFM Cap., Father Rodel Aclan, Father Samer Hani Tawfiq Haddad, Father Abraham Barnabas, Father Michael Cadhit George, Father Shaji Mathews Vazhayil, Father Charbel Mhanna, of the Maronite Mariamite Order OMM, and Father Nirmal Vezhaparambil Berretto OFM Cap. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 8/1/2024)