ASIA/BAHREIN - On the consecration of the Cathedral of Awali: Bishop Berardi blesses the relic of the holy martyr Arethas

Tuesday, 12 December 2023 local churches   martyrs   liturgy  

Awali (Agenzia Fides) - "The cathedral is not a parish. It is a place of spirituality, of welcome, where we can find someone who listens to us. We are the true temple, because true worship is in the heart". With these words the Vicar Apostolic of Northern Arabia, Bishop Aldo Berardi (O.SS.T.), addressed the more than a thousand faithful who gathered on Sunday, December 10, on the occasion of the feast of the inauguration of the Cathedral of Awali.

The cathedral, named after Our Lady of Arabia, was inaugurated on December 10, 2020 by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, then Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (now Pro-Prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization).

"When you come to the cathedral," Bishop Berardi added in his homily, "you can feel at home. Here you can pray, think, meditate. People come to church to find themselves, to find peace." The solemn mass was concelebrated by the Bishop and the twelve priests of the Apostolic Vicariate.

The liturgy began with a procession of a group of faithful who presented Bishop Berardi with holy relics, including those of Saint Arethas, who was martyred along with his companions in the Arabian Peninsula in 523 AD. The 1,500th anniversary of the martyrdom of Saint Arethas and his companions is currently celebrated as part of a Holy Year. On October 24, the Catholic Church in the Arabian Peninsula celebrates the commemoration of the martyrdom of Saint Arethas and his companions (see Fides, 20/10/2023). Bishop Berardi was also presented with the relics of St. John De Matha, founder of the Order of the Most Holy Trinity (Trinitarians) (which includes the Vicar Apostolic of Northern Arabia) and St. Josephine Bakhita, who was freed from slavery and subsequently baptized. The relics were blessed by the Bishop and placed in the altar by the Rector of the Cathedral, Father Saji Thomas (Ofm Cap).

As part of the solemn service, the Vicar Apostolic, accompanied by priests and laypeople, consecrated the crosses placed on the walls of the cathedral. "The place becomes holy," the bishop added, "because it is consecrated; we, in turn, are consecrated as Christians." The Eucharistic liturgy was accompanied by the cathedral choir. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 12/12/2023)