Manama: The ‘Cathedral of Our Lady of Arabia’, arguably the largest Catholic church in the Gulf, will be inaugurated by His Majesty the King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on Thursday, December 9 at 11am. The inauguration ceremony will be attended by representatives from the Vatican, members of the Bahraini royal family, ministers, ambassadors representing various countries, other diplomats, church leaders and other dignitaries from around the world.
It is a symbol of religious harmony and tolerance of the Bahraini nation. At the press conference, the vicar of the parish, Father Saji Thomas, expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the Bahraini administration for their wholehearted support and encouragement to this project.
The Cathedral of Our Lady of Arabia was built on 9,000 square meters of land donated by King Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa. The project was the dream of the late Bishop Camilo Ball.
Cardinal Louis Antonio Tagle (Prefect of the Evangelization of the People), Archbishop Eugene M. Nugent (Apostolic Nushyo of Kuwait and Bahrain) will officiate at the cathedral on December 10 under the auspices of Bishop Paul Hinder (Apocalypse).
The Apostolic Vicarage in North Arabia, which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, is estimated to have 2.5 million Catholics. They are mostly immigrants from different countries and cultures.
On May 19, 2014, King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al-Khalifa met with Pope Francis at the Vatican and presented him with a model of the largest mosque to be built on the Arabian Peninsula.
The press conference was attended by Fr. Saji Thomas (OFM Cap), Fr. Xavier Marion D’Souza (OFM Cap), Rodrigo C. Acosta, Jesus C. Palancode, Michael Bueno Carney, Jixa Jose, Binoy Abraham and Ranjith Joe.