Auxiliary Bishop Ordained for Arabia

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, FEB. 1, 2004 ( Capuchin Father Paul Hinder, 61, has received episcopal ordination after being named auxiliary bishop of Arabia.

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Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, celebrated the Mass for the episcopal ordination on Friday.

A native of Lanterswill-Steherenberg, Switzerland, the new auxiliary bishop had been superior general of the Capuchin Franciscans since 2001.

The Apostolic Vicariate of Arabia, instituted in 1889 and entrusted to the pastoral care of the Capuchins, is the largest ecclesiastical circumscription in the world.

It comprises 3.14 million square kilometers and includes six nations: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Yemen. Its 42.2 million inhabitants include 1.4 million Catholics, mostly immigrants.

Twenty-one parishes are served by 40 priests — 24 Capuchins, five Salesians, two Carmelites and nine regular clergy — three permanent deacons and 68 women religious.

Vatican Radio said the women religious look after the handicapped and run orphanages and homes for the elderly, as well as six schools with more than 12,000 pupils. The study body is 60% Muslim, 36% Christian and 4% Hindu.

Bishop Giovanni Bernardo Gremoli is vicar apostolic of Arabia. His see is in Abu Dhabi.

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