“Do not be afraid”

View inside the church of Saint Mary "St Mary's Catholic Church Dubai" © Harald Oppitz (KNA)

Youth is not only an ie in Rome. Meeting on Friday, well 1.200 Catholics in the United Arab Emirates for the third Catholic Youth Meeting. It is to be the largest meeting of Catholic young people in Arabia.

For a two-day Catholic youth meeting in the United Arab Emirates, about 1.200 participants expected. The meeting in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, which begins Friday, is the largest such gathering, according to organizers. In addition to visitors from the Emirates, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and Jordan, young Catholics also traveled from Saudi Arabia, the Apostolic Vicariate of South Arabia announced.

Program points revolve, among other things, around life as Christian migrants in the majority Islamic society, but also around passing on the faith. The meeting should call on young adults not to be afraid, explained the bishop for South Arabia, Paul Hinder. The dignity and value of a Christian does not derive from recognition by worldly authorities, but from God.

"You are not alone"

"It's about encouraging young people in their faith and giving them the opportunity to celebrate together and experience that they are not alone, despite the often somewhat difficult environment in the countries of the Arabian Peninsula, religiously speaking, socially speaking and also politically speaking," Hinder told Vatican News.

The two-day meeting takes place on Friday out of consideration for the work-free day in the region, already on Saturday many participants would have to be back at their workplaces, so Hinder. In doing so, he shed light on the living conditions on the Arabian Peninsula, where Catholics make up only a vanishingly small minority.

The third meeting since 2009

That the celebration of faith now also coincides with the final part of the youth synod is a coincidence, but, he says, a "good coincidence". It is the third regional meeting of young Catholics in Arabia.

Similar meetings took place in Dubai in 2009 and Abu Dhabi in 2012.

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