The Catholic community welcomed the concession of land in the emirate of Qatar, where a church will soon be built. In this Arab state, places for Christian worships have not been built since the seventh century.
The future church, to be administered by the Parish of St. Mary of the Rosary, will be built on land donated by the emir of Qatar, in a residential district of the capital, Doha. Zenit News, which released news of the church-to-be on Tuesday, also reported that the emir had donated land to Anglicans, Copts, Orthodox and Protestants to build their own churches as well.
"We are very happy," said Bishop Bernardo Gremoli, apostolic vicar of Arabia, who has been on a pastoral visit to the vicariate in recent days.
"For years we have been waiting for this moment: the authorization to build a church. There is great enthusiasm in the Catholic community," he said.
Last week, Archbishop Giuseppe De Andrea, papal nuncio in Kuwait, told the missionary agency Fides, "This is a historic moment, an event of grace for the Church in this part of the world."
Situated in the Arabic peninsula, the emirate of Qatar has just under 800,000 inhabitants, most of whom are Muslims. Its population is made up in general of Arab Bedouins, as well as immigrant workers from nearby Arab states and from Iran, Pakistan, India and the Philippines.
Although Islam is the majority religion, the country has some 60,000 Catholic immigrants, especially from the Philippines and India. The birth of the Catholic mission in Qatar dates back to 1956.