Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela
Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Saturday, April 30, 2016
CYO Football 2015 2015 Priest Reassignments, Archdiocese of Portland Cardinal Francis George dies Mothering with faith Sisters of the Holy Names, 2015 Live Nativity at St. John the Baptist 2014 Fall CYO results Catholic Charities Donor Lunch 2014 Year of Consecrated Life opening Mass Holy Spirit Sisters Jubilee 2014 Seaside youth conference Mount Angel 125th Northwest Hub Furlow at papal Mass 2014 Rosary Bowl NW Brother André 2014 Fall 40 Days for Life 2014 Inauguration of Fr. Mark Poorman Coffee shop at abbey First day of school, 2014 Regis High School 50th anniversary 2014 Crooked Finger Pilgrimage Mass with migrant farm workers Maronite Ordination Consecration to "Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima" CYO track Southern Oregon Evangelization 2014 Priest Ordination Christ the King youth 2014 priest reassignments Our Lady of Lavang Confirmation, 2014 Memorial Day 2014 2014 Transitional deacon ordination Padre Foster Granados visits Albany Bishop Smith ordination Canonization of Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII Bishop Peter Smith 2014 Easter Vigil 2014 Walk of Cross 2014 Chrism Mass CYO basketball 2014 St. Patrick of the Forest 150th Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope, 2014 Boys2Men Archbishop visits Oregon State Penitentiary 40 Day Vigil for Life, 2014 Pope Francis creates new cardinals St. Henry shelter 2014 CYO swimming Funeral of Fr. George Wolf Travel on a budget Lunar New Year, 2014 Tech in Catholic schools 2014 Right to Life Rally Archbishop visits Santiam Prison First Mass in Oregon Milwaukie Posada St. Francis, Sherwood, Toy Drive Central Catholic football Typhoon Haiyan Deacon Ordination/ Kresbach, Schmitt A Catholic fisherman St. Cecilia Centennial Southern Oregon Welcome Mass Shepherd of the Valley, Central Point, dedication Grotto Anniversary 2013 Champions of Faith Dinner Gardenripe farms Coleman hop farm Corvallis Year of Faith Archbishop Howard at St. Rose Hitchhiking priests Franciscan Spiritual Center Sacred Heart, Medford Migrant Mass Tanzanians' jubilee World Youth Day 2013 2013 Blessing of the Animals 2013 Freedom Mass Albany school closure Fabric art Megan graduates from Catholic school St. Vincent de Paul Hillsboro 2013 Deacon ordination Sister Theresa Lamkin St. Helen Mission, Brownsville Marist Brainiacs St. Mary, Eugene St. Francis eighth graders Ascension confirmation 2013 Pastoral Ministry Conference St. Joseph Salem — Year of Faith Archbishop Sample's Installation Mass 2013 Archbishop Sample Chrism Mass 2013 2013 Young Catholics Pope Francis inauguration Celebration of Hope Vlazny Farewell Mass Archbishop Vlazny Farewell St. Paul Church in St. Paul Valley Catholic Green Building Rite of Election 2013 Water summit 2013 Lunar New Year Alveda King in Eugene New Monsignors, 2013 2013 Right to Life Rally MLK Mass, 2013 St. Henry, Gresham, Centennial Jesuit High drama School uniforms Friar in the mall Holy Trinity food ministry January Book Covers St. Andre Bessette food Year of Faith Mass Nestucca Sanctuary Hillsboro Choirs Father Betschart installation Salem Religious Freedom Rally Year of Faith Vespers, Awards Roy's Catholic School Adelante Mujeres 10th anniversary New Blanchet House Missionaries of Holy Spirit Priest, religious photos Providence Nursing Schools Pioneros Fortnight for Freedom Mark Bentz Deacon Ordination OLL School Walk Through Gaga over science St. Philip Neri Centennial Ordination of Bishop Cary SVDP, Grants Pass Holy Cross School centennial Confirmation - Mount Angel Holy Land Pilgrimage Blanchet Watershed Chrism Mass, 2012 Bishop-designate Cary Pope in Cuba, 2012 SSMO 125th Jubilee Mass Pope Benedict in Mexico 2012 Catholic Charities Celebration 2012 Madeleine Mardi Gras Centennial Rally for Life, 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Mass 2012 Day Laborers-Guadalupe Guadalupe 2011 Christ the King, Milwaukie, 50th Sesame Doughnuts Central Catholic Volleyball St. Peter Centennial Deacon Ordination, October 2011 St. Agatha Centennial Rosary Bowl 2011 St. Wenceslaus, Scappoose, Centennial Filipino celebration Polish Festival 2011 Holy War Football 2011 World Youth Day 2011 Sun Gold Farm Our Lady of Victory's New Church Freedom Mass 2011 St. Mary Church Steeple Removal Priest reassignments, 2011 Old Catholic Buildings Paige Rice, St. Mary's runner Graduation 2011 Easter vigils 2011 Pastoral Ministry Conference Basketball Holy War 2011 Search for Peace 2011

Mt Angel Towers 8.13

Home : News : Nation and World
Bahrain cathedral will be 'symbol of Christianity' in 'heart of Islam'
Catholic News Service photo
Bishop Camillo Ballin, apostolic vicar of Northern Arabia, answers questions during a March 13 interview with the Catholic News Service in Washington. He was visiting several U.S. cities to announce a new cathedral will be built in Bharain on two acres o f land donated by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain. Besides a new cathedral, the planned church complex will include a bishop's residence, 16 multipurpose areas, accommodations for visiting clergy and a training center for catechists. Constructi on is set to begin this October and the new cathedral should open in 2016. 
Catholic News Service photo
Bishop Camillo Ballin, apostolic vicar of Northern Arabia, answers questions during a March 13 interview with the Catholic News Service in Washington. He was visiting several U.S. cities to announce a new cathedral will be built in Bharain on two acres o f land donated by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain. Besides a new cathedral, the planned church complex will include a bishop's residence, 16 multipurpose areas, accommodations for visiting clergy and a training center for catechists. Constructi on is set to begin this October and the new cathedral should open in 2016. 
Catholic News Service


WASHINGTON — Bishop Camillo Ballin, apostolic vicar of Northern Arabia, knows full well what it is like to minister to Catholics in a Muslim region because he has been doing that for more than four decades.

In recent years, the 69-year-old Italian bishop -- a member of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus who has served in Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon, Kuwait and now Bahrain -- has seen the number of Catholics particularly in the Persian Gulf rise sharply. He attributes the increase to the growing number of workers migrating to the oil-rich nations for manual labor and domestic service work.

In his territory, the Northern Arabia vicariate -- which includes Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia -- there are more than 2.5 million Catholics.

The increasing Catholic population gives Bishop Ballin a problem not every bishop faces: overflowing churches.

In response, he is preparing to build a new cathedral in Awali, Bahrain, called Our Lady of Arabia, which will hold 2,600 congregants. The current church on the island nation seats about 700. The Catholic population in Bahrain numbers about 140,000, the bishop said.

King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain donated more than two acres to the bishop last year to build the cathedral complex, including the cathedral, a bishop's residence, 16 multipurpose halls, residential accommodations for visiting clergy and a training center for catechists. Construction is set to begin in October and the new cathedral should open in 2016.

The bishop spoke to Catholic News Service March 13 during a U.S. visit to collect "cement" as he described it, or financial backing for the cathedral, which he said will be the "symbol of Christianity in the "heart of Islam." To date, the local Catholic community has contributed $3 million to the project, but the cost for the cathedral alone is $30 million, which is why the vicariate is working with Aid to the Church in Need, an international Catholic charity, to help raise needed funds.

Bishop Ballin pointed out that beyond the church structure itself being a symbol of Christianity, there will be no exterior symbols, such as crosses on the cathedral or church property.

"We are in an Islamic country. The religion of this country is Islam and we have to respect laws of the country," he said. "For us, it is not essential to have crosses outside the church. What is essential for us is for Christians to witness the love of God."

He continued: "It is better not to provoke negative reactions from local people. It is better to work together for peace. External signs can be useful but they are not essential."

The bishop noted that inside the cathedral crosses or other religious symbols can be displayed. In Bahrain, he said, Catholics have "total freedom to worship in the confines of the church" without government or police interference but they cannot worship in public for example with outdoor processions.

The bishop politely refused to discuss the situation in Saudi Arabia -- linked by bridge to Bahrain -- saying only that observance of faith there "is another situation for Christians; this is not a secret."

A report issued by the Aid to the Church in Need notes that Christians are not free to worship or publicly display their faith in Saudi Arabia, which is why many Catholics worship secretly in homes or embassies.

Bishop Ballin, who said he openly wears his cassock and pectoral cross in public and has "always been respected," stressed that Catholics who worship in his vicariate "don't want to convert anybody or provoke conversion."

He noted that he has been ministering in Arab countries for 45 years and "never had one conversion; never expected a conversion."

"Our mission is not to convert," he said, but to "do good to everybody" including those of different religions or no religion.

He also pointed out that he has more than enough challenges within his own extremely diverse congregation which includes five rites and Masses celebrated in 13 languages.

"My biggest challenge is to form one Catholic Church" from this diverse group, he said.

The majority of local Catholics are from India, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Korea, he said. They are all young, he added, noting that when they are 60 years old, they have to leave the country.

"Our church is a young church," he said, and the parishioners have many activities and initiatives. They want to meet, get together and have spiritual formation. Many of them left their families behind for these jobs and are alone.

For its part, he said the church tries to "help them form communities, find new friends, to have a better human life."

Bishop Ballin considers himself a local, since he has a passport from Bahrain and only gets back to his Italian homeland about once a year. He described the church in the Persian Gulf as a living church.

He noted that in some regions where you "have to push people to come to participate" he said, almost jokingly, that priests in his vicariate refrain from encouraging participation because there just wouldn't be enough room if everyone came.

He noted that about 30 to 35 percent of the faithful in these Arab countries attend Sunday Masses, which is a much bigger percentage than in some European countries where less than 5 percent of Catholics attend Mass. He also is convinced more Catholics would attend Masses here but cannot because of their work schedules.

"God has his plans for those who come and those who don't come," he said. "Our mission is to help those who do come and continue to look out for those who don't come."





Article Comment Submissions
Submit your comments, please. 
 
Comments are reviewed before being posted to the site. Comments must use respectful language and address the story. Comments are not posted immediately to the site. The site editor may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours. Comments may also be considered to appear as letters in our print edition, unless the writer specifices no.
 
Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Required
Last Name:
Required
Telephone:
Required
Email:
Required
Comment:
Required
Passcode:
Required
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.
   


Advanced Search












Mary Jo Tully ~ The Path to Resurrection

News | Viewpoints | Faith & Spirituality | Parish and School Life | Entertainment | Obituaries | Find Churches and Schools | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising
E-Newsletter | RSS Feeds

© 2016 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved