10/31/2018, 15.36
Send to a friend

Mgr Hinder on young Catholics of Arabia, witnesses of Christ among Muslims

The third Arab Catholic Youth Congress was held on 26-27 October in the Emirates, to coincide with the Synod. The two-day meeting unfolded in English, Arabic, Hindi and Malay. For the vicar, it provided an opportunity to talk with young people who are well integrated in the Church. Some of the topics included the Christian and Arab identity, the message for Islam, and keeping "the fire of faith alive".

Abu Dhabi (AsiaNews) – The two-day 2018 Arab Catholic Youth Congress (ACYC) was held on 26-27 October in Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates, at the St Anthony of Padua Parish, bringing together some 1,600 young Catholics, aged 18 to 35, from across the Arabian Peninsula.

Speaking to AsiaNews, Mgr Paul Hinder, Apostolic Vicar of southern Arabia (United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen), said that it was a "very peaceful and joyous" event that rekindled "the fire of faith" among young Catholics living in Arabia amid the Muslim majority, bearing witness to Christ through "deeds more than words".

"Most came from the Emirates, but there were delegations from every nation”, i.e. Oman, Emirati, Kuwait, Bahrain and Jordan. They participated in the festival of faith, which had “a strong charismatic imprint," the prelate said.

The meeting, which was the most impressive gathering of young Catholics from the region, had as its theme ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God’.

Organised to coincide with the last days of the Synod on Young People, in the Vatican, the event dedicated to the youth in the Vicariate was the third of its kind after those in Dubai in 2009 and Abu Dhabi in 2012.

In addition to the apostolic vicar, other high-ranking officials attended, included Mgr Camillo Ballin, Apostolic Vicar for northern Arabia (Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar) and the Apostolic Nuncio Mgr Francisco Padilla.

On the first day, young people participated in meetings and discussion groups in English, Arabic, Hindi and Malay. On the second day, bishops, other speakers and various leaders joined the conference. On the Vicariate’s Facebook page, organisers posted excerpts from the inaugural ceremony.

"Those two days were full of joy," said Mgr Hinder, and “Young people were not afraid to approach their bishop and to talk to each other.

“They are well integrated in the local Church, and many belong to prayer groups or Church movements. Some of them have gone to World Youth Days or will go to the next one" in Panama in January 2019.

The Vicariate’s young people were interested in the Youth Synod but could not follow its activities on a regular basis.

"Here the issues were different from those heard in the Vatican,” explained Mgr Hinder. “We asked for help on how to deepen our faith, how to live it in a Muslim majority context, and how to interact with other faiths.”

“The issue of abuses also came up, and participants asked what we thought about it and how it is possible to rebuild trust within the Church, even though there is no deep crisis with us as in other parts of the world."

The vicar told young people “to trust, not to fear despite difficulties, because we must not lose hope. Events like this can help boost the faith, in a context of great challenges in which Christians are also approached with the intention of being converted.”

"This issue is not as important for immigrants but is very present for Arabs. Local Muslims struggle to understand and accept that there are Christian Arabs."

Finally, the apostolic vicar said that he hopes that young people “will keep the fire of faith alive. We must bear witness to our belonging to Christ through deeds and gestures. As Saint Francis used to say, we must be present among them (Muslims) without creating scandals and, if God presents the occasion, proclaim the Gospel in words and concrete actions."

Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
Church leads the way in helping Vietnam cope with its educational emergency
11/03/2016 17:00
For Bishop Machado, Pope's trip to Abu Dhabi is a sign that Islam is changing
04/02/2019 14:14
Synod for the Amazon: Card Stella hails the ‘great beauty’ of celibacy in a priest’s life
24/10/2019 17:56
For Fr Tom, abducted in Yemen, Holy Thursday prayer and adoration for the martyrs
21/03/2016 14:57
CELRA: For Bishop Marcuzzo, as a community, the Church is stronger than the pandemic
21/10/2021 17:59


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”