04/07/2023, 09.39
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Vicar of Arabia: Migrant Church, 'diverse and united' by Easter and baptism

by mons. Paolo Martinelli*

In his Easter message, Mons. Martinelli describes the local community made up of 'different nations, cultures, languages and rites'. Called to testify that one can be "at the same time different and united". A world marked by wars, divisions, extremism and walls needs Christian 'witness'.

Abu Dhabi (AsiaNews) - A "Church of migrants" made up of "people of different nations, cultures, languages and rites" that finds unity and cohesion in the same "faith in Easter" and through "a single baptism" that makes it a living community. With a call to unity in diversity, Msgr Paolo Martinelli, Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia (United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen) addresses an Easter message to the faithful of the Gulf region, the vast majority of whom are migrant workers. Shared with AsiaNews, the prelate writes in the text that "we are called to witness that it is possible to be, at the same time, different and united". Because, he warns, the world today marked by wars, divisions, extremism and walls needs "more than ever this witness".

The values of unity in diversity, encounter, dialogue are among the founding elements of the 'Abrahamic Family Home' inaugurated in mid-February in Abu Dhabi. An interreligious complex resulting from Pope Francis' visit to the United Arab Emirates in 2019 along with the signing of the document on brotherhood with the Imam of al-Azhar and formed by a church, a mosque and a synagogue, defined as a "contagious, living and enlightening" symbol. Presenting the place of worship, the former personal secretary of Pope Francis, Monsignor Gaid Yoannis Lahzi, pointed out that the Christian community is made up of migrant workers, some of whom are "children of the second generation". In the Emirates, he added, live "more than 200 different nationalities and it is a country where everyone can exercise" their faith "freely". 
Below is the full message for Easter from Msgr. Martinelli:

Dear brothers and sisters,

May the Lord give you peace and the joy of the Risen Christ.

I wish you all the blessings and joy for Easter.

In reality, Easter is not simply a celebration among many others. It is the foundation of our Christian faith. The Christian faith is a paschal faith that finds its foundation in the passion, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Everything in Christianity starts from that morning on the Sunday when the tomb where Jesus was buried is found empty by some women and the apostles. In a mysterious but real way, Jesus appears to them. From here springs the Christian announcement: Jesus Christ, the crucified, is risen, he is truly risen!

This announcement of joy and hope also resounds even today in a world afflicted by so much suffering and uncertainty. There are wars and conflicts that bring destruction and death to many in different parts of the world. Sometimes even in our hearts, we have doubts and fears about the future. We need a reliable hope on which to build relationships and promote the common good together with all men and women of goodwill.

These days I invite you to rediscover the beauty of our baptism, which made us sharers in the resurrection of Christ and made us children of God.

Let us joyfully welcome the announcement of Easter, which proclaims victory over evil and death, and let us become promoters of reconciliation and of a more fraternal world.

We are a Church of migrants, made up of people from different nations, cultures, languages, and rites. The same paschal faith and the same baptism unite us. We are called to witness that it is possible to be different and united simultaneously. The world needs this testimony.

I invoke upon you and your families the blessing of the Most Holy Trinity. 

May the Lord give you peace and joy in your hearts. Christ is risen. He is truly risen! 

Happy Easter!

+ Paolo Martinelli, OFMCap

Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia

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