This is the notice board of Abu Dhabi Cathedral, showing the busy timetable for Friday-Sunday and the many different language groups represented: English, French, Arabic, Urdu and Malayalam. The church is packed for most of these Masses and often there's a large overspill outside. In fact, on the Solemnity of the Assumption there were 1,000 inside the Cathedral and 1,000 outside, listening to the Mass from loudspeakers, with occasional interruptions from the nearby minaret. Such numbers are hardly surprising given that 35% of the population of the UAE is Christian, most of whom are Catholics - yet in a large city like Abu Dhabi there is just one church, though the provision is luxurious compared to Saudi Arabia!
A reader has just pointed out to me Sandro Magister's new post on the Church in Arabia, which ties in nicely with my recent experiences and has the eye-catching title, The Christians Are Coming Back to Arabia - Fourteen Centuries After Mohammed. It vividly describes some of the pastoral challenges out there and is well worth reading.