Bahrain announced on Thursday the inauguration of the “largest Catholic church” in the Arabian Peninsula in the Al-Awali area, south of the capital, Manama.
The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Arabs, which has a capacity of 2,300 people, is supposed to receive the Catholic minority in the Muslim-majority Gulf state.
And the Bahrain News Agency reported that Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al Khalifa represented the King of Bahrain, Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, at the inauguration of the church, “the largest in the Arab Gulf region.”
Our Lady of Arabia Cathedral in Bahrain inaugurated by His Majesty’s Representative HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al Khalifa in the presence of Cardinal Tagle, Archbishop Eugene Nugent, Bishop Paul Hinder and other dignitaries and guests. Glory be to God! pic.twitter.com/lWlETGBAN5
– AVOSA (@avosarabia) December 9, 2021
Father Charbel Fayyad, who resides in Bahrain, said: “We are glad (…) it will be for the spiritual needs and the spiritual health of all people.”
Father Fayyad affirmed that “Christians and non-Christians, everyone are children of God and everyone is welcome here in this beautiful church.”
The church, which was built in a modern engineering design and includes two levels of benches, is located about 1.6 km from a large mosque and close to oil wells, in the south of the country.
The Vatican estimates that there are about 80,000 Catholics in Bahrain, mainly Asian workers from India and the Philippines.