Manama: The largest Catholic church in Arabia is set to open in Bahrain. The inauguration and consecration of Our Lady of Arabia Cathedral in the name of the Holy Mother of God will take place on December 9 and 10 at a place gifted by the ruler of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa. The king himself is expected to officiate the inauguration. It will also be the headquarters of the Northeastern Apostolic See, which includes Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Cardinal Louis Antonio Tagle, President of the Evangelical Congregation, representing the Pope; Cardinal Tagle will then thank the Holy See for the throne. A memento indicating the warm relationship between the Vatican and Bahrain will also be handed over. The consecration of the main altar and the blessing of the cathedral will take place at 10 a.m. under the patronage of Cardinal Tagley.
The cathedral and the vicarage’s headquarters are located on 9,000 square meters of land donated by the king in the Awali municipality, 20 kilometers from the capital Manama. The cathedral is part of a 95,000-square-foot building complex. The cathedral can accommodate 2,300 believers. Chapels on both sides and ample parking facilities are also featured.
The decision to build the cathedral was made on February 11, 2013, the feast day of Mother Lourdes. The king also supported the construction of the temple. During a visit to the Vatican on May 19, 2014, the King of Bahrain presented a small model of the cathedral to the Pope as a symbol of his commitment to fostering peace and unity. The Pope presented the King with the Medal of the Angel of Peace, a symbol of peace and solidarity. There are about 80,000 Catholics in Bahrain. A large percentage of these are expatriates from Asian countries such as the Philippines and India.
English Summary : Bahrain Catholics celebrate the opening of Our Lady of Arabia Cathedral