News Karnataka
Friday, September 30 2022

St Anthony of Padua Church consecrated at Ras Al Khaimah

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Ras Al Khaimah : Over 8000 devout Christians of various nationalities from  across the UAE  had converged at the newly built St Anthony of  Padua  Church  in Jazirat Al Hamra, for the consecration of the church and the first mass that was held on June 14, Friday.

Several people from Dubai and Abu Dhabi had arrived along with their family and friends at least an hour before the mass scheduled at 10 am at the basement auditorium with a capacity of 1200 people. Many people not finding a place in the auditorium were seen standing on the aisles, staircase and in the grounds where shamiyana was put up and listened to the prayers and hymns relayed on a large screen.

The mass  was led by Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for Evangelisation of Peoples at the Vatican; Archbishop Petar Rajic, Apostolic Nuncio to the Arabian Peninsula, and Bishop Paul Hinder, from the UAE.

The congregation was welcomed by Cardinal Filoni, who read out a message from the Pope.Later the worshippers sang the hymn Praise to the Lord, along with the Choir.

In his homily, the cardinal stressed the need for parishioners to live in harmony and described the day as historic.

The Dh18.5 million complex has been built on land that was donated by the RAK government to the community in 2007. The 7,000 Catholics in the emirate had been attending mass, conducted in English with occasional services in Malayalam, Tagalog, Tamil, Konkani, Arabi and Sinhalese, at a chapel in Al Nakheel, built in 1999.

The rapid growth in the Christian population in the country, especially the Northern Emirates, prompted the community to start building a bigger church in 2011. About 30 kilometres away from the main city, it is accessible through direct routes from Umm Al Quwain, Ajman and Sharjah.

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