Saturday, 2 February 2008

Arabian Pictures

Bloggers have a tendency to assume that the whole world is interested in accounts of their travels, complete with photos. However, the aim of these pictures is not (hopefully) to bore you but to give you some idea of the vibrancy of the Church in Arabia.

St Joseph's Cathedral in Abu Dhabi is not exactly a picture postcard building:

However it is the heart of the Vicariate. In the large compound is a presbytery, parish hall, school, Carmelite convent and Bishop's House. It is here that the Vicar Apostolic of Arabia, Bishop Paul Hinder, is based. On Thursday, my last day there, he celebrated his fourth anniversary as Bishop - and here he is in the Cathedral Hall before the Solemn Mass. He wears a pectoral cross presented to him by Pope Benedict a week or so ago during the ad limina:

There is a constant stream of people coming in and out of the Cathedral all day. Candles are always being lit outside the Lourdes Grotto:

Now for the Christian Formation Conference, at which I spoke. Here I am with two other speakers: Dr Carole Eipers (Vice President of Sadlier Publishing) and Dr Petroc Willey (Deputy Director of Maryvale):

There were over 600 people present:

Here is a rather serious-looking line-up - the Roman Miscellanist with Mgr Francis Jamieson, the English-born Vicar General of Arabia, and the wonderful Director of Christian Formation, Catherine Miles-Flynn:

Finally, no Arabian gallery would be complete without camels. And these are no ordinary camels - but elite racing camels, training in the midst of the desert outside Abu Dhabi:

Update: I have been requested to include a picture of the Young Adults Group discussing the subject of vocation over Moroccan tea and sheesha in downtown Abu Dhabi. This is very much part of Arab life. Any uncharitable comments will not be posted!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome back, father!
Tnak you for sharing with your experiencies and pictures. Yes, it's a big paradox that Christianity is growing especcialy there where persecuted! Yet it is Jesus who gives the absolute freedom despite all suffering...
And what do you want to do with young adults in your parish? To talk on vocation or to go to the sea? :-) Welcome back!

10:12 pm  
Blogger Fr Nicholas said...

Thanks. I was thinking more of the sheesha by the sea, but a talk on vocations would be good as well!

10:27 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we could do both :-))

10:38 pm  
Blogger Ritualist said...

And I was just remarking the other day to Fr. F that I didn't see him in his violet trimmed cassock very often :D Though I admit, Father, that I was looking forward to a picture of you and the sheesha.

12:54 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looking good Fr!

2:18 pm  
Blogger Fr Nicholas said...

Ritualist - just to please you I have included a picture of the sheesha party!

3:12 pm  
Blogger A Simple Sinner said...

Welcome back!

The photos are appreciated!

I grew up being told that the Catholic Church as shrinking, that Islam was the biggest religion in the world and would just get bigger, that no one wanted to be priests, that no one wanted to be sisters...

I ALWAYS welcome photos and stories of growing and vibrant communities anywhere around the world! So I really do love it when you tell us about this community!

10:43 pm  
Blogger A Simple Sinner said...

You have just been memed.

And great photos again Father. More are always welcome!

11:20 pm  

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