Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia AVOSA header


Media Center — Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia

The Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia is a Roman Catholic apostolic vicariate located in the United Arab Emirates. It is a territorial jurisdiction of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church covering the following countries of the Arabian Peninsula and surrounding region: Oman, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. » read more.

Pope Francis and Bishop
Pope Francis and bishop
  • Vatican, 18 September, 2013 — Pope Francis greets the bishop during his general audience at St. Peter's Square on 18 September 2013.

    On 10 September the new St. Anthony of Padua Church and Centre in the Al Hamra - Al Jazeera area of Ras Al Khaimah have been connected to the electricity network and will be fully operational with immediate effect. The priests are moving to the new residence and new parish offices.

    Encyclical Letters
  • Encyclical Letter of Pope Francis Lumen Fidei, in English, Arabic and French was made public on Friday, 5 July 2013 at 12:00 noon Rome time.

    Saturday, 29 June 2013 — Mussafah, Abu Dhabi. Mussafah developed for over 30 years as an industrial area on the mainland south of the city of Abu Dhabi (close to the roads going to Al Ain and to the Western Region). In the last 15 years big residential areas have been added and many people have moved from the island to Mussafah and the new suburbs in the airport area.

    St. Joseph's Cathedral has been the only church for Abu Dhabi since 1965 (first in Corniche, since 1983 in Al Mushrif). It was a great joy for the bishop when at the beginning of November 2011 the City Municipality of Abu Dhabi communicated that a piece of land of 4560 square metres had been granted for the construction of a church and parish. A wish of many years and repeated requests to the authorities were fulfilled on that day.

    The Bishop formed a committee that has been working tirelessly for the last 18 months together with the consultants. The building contract has been signed and work will begin soon. We are looking forward to having St. Paul's in Mussafah as second parish of Abu Dhabi City.

    On 29 June 2013, the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Bishop Paul Hinder blessed the foundation stone on the site of the future St. Paul's Church in the presence of many priests and sisters, about 300 faithful as well as the architects, engineers and contractors.

    St. Paul's
																							Church, Mussafaa
    St. Paul's Church — Mussafah

    Sad news: The father of Fr. Reinhold Sahner died in Germany on 16 March at the age of 89. Fr. Reinhold left for the funeral on 17 March but will be back for Holy Week.

    Pope Francis
    Pope Francis

    Vatican, 13 March 2013 — Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is the 266th and current pope of the the Universal Church. A native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, he was ordained as a priest in 1969. In 1998 he became the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, and in 2001 a cardinal. Following the resignation of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, on 28 February 2013, the conclave elected Bergoglio, who chose the papal name Francis in honour of Saint Francis of Assisi. He is both the first Jesuit pope and the first pope from the Americas. He is also the first pope from outside Europe since Pope Gregory III in the 8th century. Bergoglio entered the Society of Jesus on 11 March 1958. In 1967, Bergoglio finished his theological studies and was ordained to the priesthood on 13 December 1969.

    Bergoglio was named Auxiliary Bishop of Buenos Aires in 1992 and was ordained on 27 June 1992 as Titular Bishop of Auca, with Cardinal Antonio Quarracino, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, serving as principal consecrator. Bergoglio succeeded Cardinal Quarracino as Archbishop of Buenos Aires on 28 February 1998 and was concurrently named ordinary for Eastern Catholics in Argentina, who had lacked their own prelate. At the consistory of 21 February 2001, Archbishop Bergoglio was created a cardinal by Pope John Paul II with the title of cardinal-priest of San Roberto Bellarmino.

    Cardinal Bergoglio became known for personal humility, doctrinal conservatism and a commitment to social justice. A simple lifestyle contributed to his reputation for humility. He lived in a small apartment, rather than in the palatial bishop's residence. He gave up his chauffeured limousine in favor of public transportation and cooked his own meals.

    Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI

    Vatican, 10 February, 2013 — "To the surprise of everyone Pope Benedict announced last Monday in a meeting with the Cardinals that on 28 February at 8 pm he will resign as Bishop of Rome and as Pope of the Universal Church. From that moment onward the See of Saint Peter will be vacant until a new Pope is elected in March in time for the celebrations of Holy Week and Easter. In retirement Josef Cardinal Ratzinger, Bishop Emeritus of Rome will serve the Church through a life dedicated to prayer.

    Benedict XVI made this decision in full freedom, giving as reasons his advanced age and diminishing health. Admiring his courage and thankful for his wise leadership for almost 8 years let us pray for him and for the election of a good successor for the chair of Saint Peter."

    Attached find the text of the Holy Father's announcement (in English; look for the other seven languages on vatican.va, Pope Benedict, Speeches, 2013, February) and the notification in English and Arabic received from the Apostolic Nuncio in Kuwait.

    Blessing of Foundation Stone of St. Joseph's Parish Extension

    Abu Dhabi, UAE, 19 January, 2013 — in the evening Bishop Paul Hinder, in the presence of many priests, sisters and faithful as also representatives of the building committee and consultancy firm blessed the foundation stone of the large extension to be constructed at St. Joseph Cathedral in place of the recently demolished parish hall, parish offices, priests' and staff quarters. The first phase of construction will not affect the present church (in use since 1983), Bishop's House, Sisters' Residence and School. »view photos

    Annual Meeting of all the Priests in Dubai

    Dubai, UAE, 14-17 January, 2013 — Bishop Paul Hinder, the Apostolic Nuncio Petar Rajic and 51 priests of UAE, Oman and Yemen held the annual meeting to get the report of 2012 and to discuss pastoral matters and development questions. The total number of priests in the southern vicariate is now 56, an increase of 5 over last year.

    In June the new St. Anthony of Padua Church will be blessed in Ras Al Khaimah. The construction of the parish extension of St. Joseph Cathedral Abu Dhabi and of a new parish St. Paul in Mussafah, Abu Dhabi will begin early this year. The health of the Bishop is improving and by March he will be back to normal duty.

    Bishop Paul Hinder
    Bishop Paul Hinder
    Bishop Paul Hinder recuperating

    Abu Dhabi, UAE, December 2012 — after difficulties at the evening Mass of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, in Al Ain, and a sleepless night bishop Paul was admitted to the Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi in the morning of 9 December. He was found with a blocked artery in the posterior/inferior part of the heart, and taken to the Cath Lab and operated upon immediately. The timely intervention was successful and the bishop is out of danger.

    Fr. Gandolf is in regular contact with him and has visited him several times; he confirms that the bishop is fully conscious but tired. He is now back home from the hospital.

    Please pray for him, but it is highly advised not to visit him, nor to bombard him with messages and emails. Rest is what he needs most for a speedy recovery.

    Bishop Paul sends each of you his greetings and blessings.

    Yemen - Salesian Jubilee

    Yemen - September 2012 - Bishop Paul Hinder visited Yemen which is part of the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia. He met the five Salesian priests from India, the more than 20 Missionaries of Charity (Bl. Mother Teresa) and the Catholic communities in the capital Sana'a, in Aden, Hodeidah and Taiz. The Christian communities are small and getting smaller because of the difficult economic and political situation in the country.

    Jubilee celebration: 25 years ago the first Salesian priests of Chennai Province arrived in Yemen, the oldest mission in the Gulf, for more than 150 years entrusted to the Capuchin Fathers. Aden was the See of the Apostolic Vicar of Arabia from 1888 until 1974, when it was transferred to Abu Dhabi, the fast growing capital of the newly established United Arab Emirates.

    Bishop Paul Hinder, the Salesian Provincial Fr. Thomas Anchukandam, the outgoing and incoming Regional Superiors of the Missionaries of Charity Sr. Benedetta and Sr. Rio, some retired missionaries, the priests, sisters and faithful were present for the Jubilee Celebrations in Sana'a. The bishop thanked the Salesian priests for their hard work and perseverance in times of isolation and insecurity.

    Fr. Mathew Vadacherry was the first Salesian to arrive in Yemen. On 13 August 1987, he took charge of the Parish at Taiz and had the additional charge of Hodeidah, too. From then on 15 Salesians have worked in Yemen and gone back to the province. Three of them have gone for their eternal reward: Fr. Jacob Kizhakkeyil who died on 20.12.1994, Fr. Benedict Vadacherry who died on 5.3.2009 and Fr. C. K. Jose who died on 2.8. 2011. The longest serving missionary in Yemen is Fr. George Pudussery and has been here since 1989. He is the delegate of the Bishop.

    Year of Faith 2012—2013

    Abu Dhabi - A year when prayer and reflection may be easier to combine with the intelligence of faith, which must be urgent and necessary for all. We cannot allow for believers to rush in various fields of science in order to make their work more professional, thus finding themselves with a weak and insufficient knowledge of the faith. An unforgivable imbalance which does not permit our personal identity to grow and which prevents us from giving accountability to the choice made.

    Year of Faith
    Annus Fidei

    Read the pastoral letter in English, I Do Believe, Help My UnbeliefMark 9:24

    Pastoral letter in Tagalog, Nananampalataya Ako; Tulungan Mo Ang Kakulangan Ko Ng PananampalatayaMarkos 9:24

    Pastoral letter in Arabic, آمنت، فشدِّد إيماني الضعيفمتى ٩:٢٤

    Pastoral letter in Malayalam.

    Launching of official logo of ACYC2012 with picture of the logo

    Abu Dhabi -10 August 2012. ACYC2012 - the second Catholic Youth Conference in ARABIA, planned for 15 - 17 November 2012 in Abu Dhabi, was officially launched by Bishop Paul Hinder in the compound of St. Joseph's Cathedral.

    Jumpstart your faith, recharge, reconnect, revive - ACYC2012

    In an excellent programme of dances, music and a short play the link to the successful first ACYC in Dubai was made through video flashes; Clyde Nunes was declared the winner of the logo competition; the logo was revealed and its meaning described. The Bishop himself explained the theme of the conference "All things are possible for one who believes" taken from Mark 9, 24.

    Jebel Ali - 26 September 2012. View the photos of the ACYC launch ceremony held at St. Francis of Assisi Church, Jebel Ali.

    Approval of the Statutes of HSI

    Abu Dhabi - 6 August 2012. Holy Spirit Interactive - Definitive Statutes approved by Bishop. H.E. Bishop Paul Hinder signed the definitive statutes of HSI, which two years ago he established as a public lay association of faith and outreach of the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia, based in Dubai. Mr. Aneel Aranha is the founder and moderator. With the permission of the respective bishops HSI has opened schools of evangelisation in different parts of the world.

    Confession Booklet
    Confession Booklet
    Coming Home to the Father's Embrace - A Guide to the Sacrament of Confession
    Confession Booklet
    Presentation of first copies at bishop's office

    Abu Dhabi - 4 August 2012. Release of the Booklet "Coming Home to the Father's Embrace - A Guide to the Sacrament of Confession", prepared and published by the Community of Grace, Dubai. Mr. John John and Mr. Aby Mathew from Dubai presented the first copies of the very practical and useful 84-page booklet to H.E. Bishop Paul Hinder and Fr. Lennie Connully, the Vicar General, in the Bishop's office in Abu Dhabi.

    Pastoral Letters
  • PASTORAL LETTER 2012 — About Sin, Forgiveness and Reconciliation.
  • PASTORAL LETTER 2012 — Tungkol sa Kasalanan, Pagpapatawad at Pakikipagkasundo
  • PASTORAL LETTER 2011 — Do this in memory of me!"
  • PASTORAL LETTER 2010 — Watch and Pray
  • PASTORAL LETTER 2009 — I live by faith in the Son of God, who has loved me and gave himself for me
  • PASTORAL LETTER 2008 — May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith
  • PASTORAL LETTER 2007 — Do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord
  • PASTORAL LETTER 2006 — Embrace the Word with a generous and good heart
  • Our Lady of Arabia
    Our Lady of Arabia

    The Feast of Our Lady Of Arabia will be celebrated on Sunday, 15 January.

    The devotion to Our Lady of Arabia (Patroness and Protector of the Oilman) started on 8 December, 1948 in the oil town of Ahmadi, Kuwait.

    The history of this devotion shows that favours have been granted which compare with those bestowed by Our Lady at other famous shrines.

    An Italian firm in Rome, "Rosa and Zanzio Ditta" carved the statue out of a solid block of cedar from Lebanon. The Holy Father, Pope Pius XII, himself gave a grand lead to this devotion to Our Lady of Arabia, and on 17 December, 1949, on the eve of the Great Jubilee Year, in the Vatican Palace, he personally blessed the new Statue of Our Lady of Arabia.

    The two crowns (for Our Lady and the Baby Jesus in her arms) are finely chiseled, weigh over two pounds of pure gold, and are adorned with diamonds and rubies, other precious stones, and a large pearl of the Gulf. The two precious crowns were blessed on 17 March, 1960 by H.H. Pope John XXIII.

    Prayer to Our Lady of Arabia.
    O Mary, dear Mother, we call thee 'Our Lady of Arabia' to ask for thy blessing upon this country, and for thy loving protection on us. Keep ever thy child near Jesus in the happiness of sanctifying grace.
    We pray that Our Lady of Arabia may hear our prayers, and by her peace make happy a world shaken by discord, and after our earthly exile show unto us all, Jesus, Who will be our eternal peace and joy.