Bishop's Messages




(Latin: Vicariatus Apostolicus Arabiae Meridionalis) is a territorial jurisdiction of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church based in Abu Dhabi, covering the following countries of the Arabian Peninsula: United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen. The Apostolic Vicar in charge since 2005 is the Swiss born Bishop Paul Hinder OFM Cap.


It was established in 1888 as the Apostolic Vicariate of Aden and entrusted to the Capuchin Franciscans of Lyons, France. A year later the name was changed to Apostolic Vicariate of Arabia (the whole Arabian Peninsula: Yemen, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia) and remained the same until 31 May 2011 when by decree of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in Rome the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia (United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen, with residence of the Bishop in Abu Dhabi, UAE) and the Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia (Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, with residence of the Bishop in Awali, Bahrain) were established.

For almost a hundred years the Apostolic Vicar of Arabia lived in Aden, Yemen. On 1st January 1974 St. Joseph's Church in Abu Dhabi became the See of the bishop.


In 1916 the Vicariate was entrusted to the Capuchins of the Tuscan Province in Florence, Italy. They provided the majority of the priests as long as they had vocations, but after the discovery of oil the number of Catholics grew so fast that many priests from other Capuchin provinces, especially in Asia and the Middle East, were asked to send missionaries. Priests of other religious institutes and diocesan priests also work in the vicariate. In 2011 the Ius Commissionis, the responsibility to find mission personnel for the Southern and Northern Vicariates was given to the General Superior of the Capuchin Franciscan Order worldwide.


About 100 priests and 80 sisters, assisted by hundreds of trained volunteer catechists, serve the more than two million Catholics in the Arabian Peninsula.




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