Cardinal Pietro Parolin

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A new Catholic church has opened in the United Arab Emirates. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, travelled to the capital, Abu Dhabi, to celebrate the inaugural Mass at St. Paul’s Catholic Church June 12. The church was built on land granted by the municipality. According to Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, about 900,000 Catholics live in the Middle Eastern nation; most are domestic workers from India and the Philippines. In his homily, Cardinal Parolin said the permission granted for new churches is “a concrete sign of hospitality that the Emirates has now shown toward Christians” and testifies to the state’s commitment to “a society based on coexistence and mutual respect.” The inaugural Mass was concelebrated by Bishop Paul Hinder, apostolic vicar of Southern Arabia, and Bishop Camillo Ballin, apostolic vicar of Northern Arabia. During a civic ceremony one day earlier, Nahyan bin Mubarak, the country’s minister for culture, said St. Paul’s represents leaders’ “religious tolerance.”