Abu Dhabi: The installation ceremony of Bishop Paolo Martinelli as the new Apostolic Vicar for Southern Arabia was held on Saturday July 2 at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Abu Dhabi.
Pope Francis appointed Bishop Martinelli to his new role. He served as the Milan auxiliary Bishop for eight years. He holds a PhD in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University and is a member of the Franciscan Capuchin Order. He has written several books about the spiritual life.
He succeeds Bishop Paul Hinder (80) who was in service for 18 years and championed interfaith harmony in the region.
“After serving in the Diocese of Milan for eight years, the Lord calls me to be a shepherd in this region that is so different from my homeland, but that I find fascinating on so many levels,” said Bishop Paolo.
He also thanked Bishop Paul Hinder OFM Cap. “I take this opportunity to express my deep admiration for the great work and wise counsel that he demonstrated during his service. I wish and will try to follow his example as I place myself completely at the disposal of God’s people in this land,” he said.
Bishop Martinelli said that he praised the UAE’s leaders and authorities for promoting a spirit of respectful co-existence and tolerance. He shared his desire to promote interreligious dialogue as well as the human fraternity document signed by religious leaders in Abu Dhabi in 2019.
In recent years, Bishop Hinder, a departing church leader, has guided in the growth of the Catholic faith in Yemen, the Emirates, and Oman, serving to a total two million worshippers. Following his appointment as an auxiliary bishop of Arabia, Bishop Hinder relocated to Abu Dhabi in 2003. After Monsignor Bernardo Gremoli retired the next year, he succeeded him.