Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, consecrated a new Church dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua in Ras Al Khaimah, a town situated in the outskirts of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The new Church is the eighth Catholic Church in the Emirates and is the highlight of the Prefect’s visit.
“Today we consecrate this new temple dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua to God, that you built with your Pastor,” the Cardinal said. “You are the image of God’s temple. You, in fact, constitute the stones of the spiritual temple of the Church, stones that support each other and form the great building of the Church, whose first architect is the Lord. In this building, everyone has his place, it is unique and precious.”
According to Fides News Agency, Cardinal Filoni expressed his thanks to religious and civil authorities while conveying Pope Francis’ “fatherly affection and prayer”
In his homily, the Cardinal encouraged the Catholics present, who consist mainly of foreigners from Asian countries.
“The variety of your cultures testifies the richness and variety of your origins, but the harmony of your voices expresses the unity of your faith. The mystery of the Church lives in you,” he told the Catholic faithful present.
“I ask each of you to be a living stone. Built on the Risen Christ, the cornerstone, we can transform the world.”
The Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples also stressed the importance of giving Christian witness in the Arabian Peninsula, calling on the faithful to be “leaven in the dough.” “May the testimony of faith, daily prayer, mercy be your faithful companions. The witness of faith also facilitates dialogue between religions; mercy opens the heart to solidarity and becomes the reflection of God’s love.”
Cardinal Filoni concluded his homily by calling on those present to be an image of God’s love for all men and women.
“To Holy Mary, Our Lady of Arabia, proclaimed Patron of the two Apostolic Vicariates of the Gulf on January 16, 2011, I entrust your suffering and intentions,” Cardinal Filoni said.