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For Christmas, churches in Abu Dhabi and southern Arabia prepare to pray for peace

Dec. 24, 2013: The Churches of Abu Dhabi and the entire region of southern Arabia are preparing for Christmas with great celebrations that are drawing tens of thousands of people. This year, services are centered on peace and reconciliation for all those involved in violence and conflict. Bishop Paul Hinder, Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia, stressed the great pre-Christmas ferment among the small Catholic communities in the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen. He told AsiaNews that in Dubai alone, more than 20,000 people attended the Christmas novena in the Church of the Virgin Mary. He said in the period of Advent, thousands of people attended the Christmas novena organized by the Filipino community, the largest in the region of southern Arabia. He said that expecting a large number of worshippers, Midnight Mass will be held in English at three different intervals at 6.30 pm, 9 pm and midnight, and on Christmas Day, services will also be held in other languages ​​in the parishes of the UAE and Oman.
About a million Catholic, all foreign nationals, live and work in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula. Filipinos are the largest community, followed by Indians, mostly from Kerala. The rest of the Catholic community includes Lebanese, Syrians, Iraqis, Egyptians and Jordanians who came to the region for work.
Thanks to the freedom of worship granted by Persian Gulf monarchies, the life of the Church is very active in the region, added Bishop Hinder.
Source: AsiaNews

Seminary rector in India creates musical on St. Francis of Assisi
Dec. 24, 2013: A Catholic priest from Goa, western India, has created a musical show to familiarize Christians with the life and philosophy of St. Francis of Assisi. The play “Peace Warrior” by Fr. Agnelo Gomes, Rector of Pilar Niketan Seminary, was first staged on the annual day of the seminary November 30.
Due to the success of the drama, two more shows were held on December 22 for the public. Fr. Gomes who is a student of New York Film Academy has made 5 short documentaries on social issues. He explained that is customary to have some cultural events on the annual day of the seminary, and this year he decided to put up this musical show as Pope Francis is a follower of St. Francis of Assisi. A musical with 16 songs, the play has a cast comprising priests studying at Pilar Niketan. The 80-minute drama has actors take up socially relevant issues like poverty, rape, accidents and illiteracy. It searches for answers in the philosophy of St. Francis of Assisi.
Source: UCAN


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