Archbishop Peña Parra visits the UAE Ministry of the Interior Archbishop Peña Parra visits the UAE Ministry of the Interior 

Archbishop Peña Parra inaugurates new UAE Apostolic Nunciature

The Substitute of the Secretariat of State inaugurates a new Apostolic Nunciature in Abu Dhabi, marking a new stage in relations between the United Arab Emirates and the Vatican.

By Devin Watkins

A special Mass was held on Wednesday in Abu Dhabi's St. Joseph's Cathedral to celebrate a new stage in diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the United Arab Emirates.

Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, the Substitute of the Secretariat of State, celebrated the Mass to inaugurate the new Apostolic Nunciature to the UAE, which opens on 4 February.

In his homily, the Archbishop conveyed Pope Francis’ warm greetings and spiritual closeness to the UAE.

“The physical presence of an Apostolic Nunciature is a further sign of the Holy Father’s pastoral solicitude for the people of this country, especially the Catholic community, since it is rightly called ‘the Pope’s House’,” he said.

Also on hand for the ceremony was Bishop Paul Hinder, the Apostolic Vicar for Southern Arabia, and Msgr. Kryspin Dubiel, Chargé d’Affaires of the Apostolic Nunciature.

Challenges of the mission

As the Church marked the World Day for Consecrated Life, Archbishop Peña Parra said the UAE has been blessed by the service of many men and women religious over the years, many of whom came as missionaries.

Consecrated life, he added, reminds the Church of the “goodness and love of God the Father,” who endows men and women with different charisms and calls them to serve His children.

“Responding to the Lord’s call to follow Him and serve His Church is not without its challenges. One such challenge that applies to all vocations in the Church is falling into discouragement.”

The Archbishop recalled, with Pope Francis, that prayer can help fill the void when the Church’s ministers risk losing hope.

Catholics in UAE ‘example of Christian living’

Archbishop Peña Parra said the Lord offered the best example of how to endure discouragement with patience and win “the crown of victory.”

“I dare say that the Catholic community of Abu Dhabi and the Arabian Peninsula as a whole is also an example of hope-filled patience and Christian living.”

He recalled Pope Francis’ visit to Abu Dhabi in 2019 and his invitation for Catholics to embrace their important role of putting the Gospel into practice.

“No one part is better or more important than the other” in the Body of Christ, he added.

God’s saving message

The Substitute of the Secretariat of State concluded his homily by urging the local Church to remain grateful for God’s many blessings and to look to Christ’s light as their guide.

“Let us go forth, brothers and sisters, as one body to bear witness to the saving message that God offers to the world: a message of glad tidings, peace, and hope; a message of liberty to those in spiritual captivity or blindness; a message that offers truth and authentic unity.”

03 February 2022, 10:09