Last week Catholics in Southern Arabia gathered in Abu Dhabi to celebrate the ordination of two Capuchin Franciscan priests by Bishop Paul Hinder, Vicar Apostolic of Southern Arabia.
Fr. Darick Paul D’Souza and Fr. Arun Raj Manuel were ordained at a Mass in St. Joseph’s Cathedral in the capital of the United Arab Emirates Jan. 8, for the Holy Trinity (Karnataka) and St. Francis (Kerala) provinces of the Capuchins, respectively.
The Vicariate Apostolic of Southern Arabia serves the more than 2 million Catholics who live in the UAE, Oman, and Yemen. Around 76 percent of the population of the UAE is Muslim, while Christians constitute around nine percent. Many of the Catholics there are guest workers from India, Africa, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and the Philippines, though some are local Arabs.
Both the new priests are examples of this trend.
Fr. D’Souza was born in Shirva, a village 12 miles southeast of Udupi in India’s Karnataka state, and Fr. Manuel was born in Kerala state. But both grew up in the UAE after their parents migrated: Fr. D’Souza in Dubai, and Fr. Manuel (who was studying medicine when he entered seminary) in Abu Dhabi.
Bishop Hinder was instrumental in helping the two discern their priestly vocations.
During his homily, the bishop noted the fittingness of the coincidence of the ordination with the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord.
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