ASIA/KUWAIT - December 8, 1948 - December 8, 2023: "Diamond Jubilee" of the Church of Our Lady of Arabia

Tuesday, 5 December 2023

Ahmadi (Agenzia Fides) - The celebrations of the anniversary of the Church of Our Lady of Arabia will end on Friday, December 8 with the Eucharistic concelebration presided over by Mgr. Aldo Berardi, O.SS.T, Apostolic Vicar of North Arabia.

"After a year of celebration and pilgrimage, said Mgr. Berardi to Fides, we will celebrate the closing Mass in which will participate, among others, Archbishop Eugene Martin Nugent, Apostolic Nuncio to Kuwait, the Custos of Arabia, Father Michael Fernandes OFM Chief, all priests from Kuwait and representatives from Qatar and Bahrain. All other celebrations planned for this event were canceled by the government in solidarity with the Palestinians".
The Church of Our Lady of Arabia is the "mother church" of the Apostolic Vicariate of North Arabia, which includes Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. It is the first Catholic church built on Kuwaiti soil and is dedicated to the great Mother of God, Mary Most Holy.
It was on December 25, 1945 that the first mass was celebrated in Kuwait. The faithful then gathered in a tent in Magwa, where later, from 1946 to 1948, Father Carmel Spiteri, a Carmelite missionary, went to periodically celebrate mass.
In 1948, a former power plant in Ahmadi was transformed into a chapel where the first mass was celebrated on the feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the same year, the first resident priest in Kuwait was appointed, Father Theophano Stella, who later became the first Vicar Apostolic of Kuwait. In 1952, the Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) authorized the construction of a new church in Ahmadi. The cornerstone of the new church was blessed by Pope Pius XII before being sent to Kuwait.
On September 8, 1955, the first stone was laid at the site of the new church, which was dedicated to Our Lady of Arabia in April 1956.

Kuwait was the first member of the Gulf Cooperation Council to establish diplomatic relations with the Vatican State. Relations between the Holy See and the Kuwaiti government date back to October 1968. However, it was not until 2000 that the Apostolic Nunciature was established in the country with the hope that in addition to strengthening ties, it would help promote friendly relations and foster dialogue between Christianity and Islam. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 5/12/2023)