Vatican, 06 November, 2022 / 5:33 pm (ACI Africa).
In Bahrain on Sunday morning, Pope Francis prayed with Catholics from the Arabian Peninsula and encouraged them to be bold in proclaiming the Gospel in their countries.
“All who are baptized have received the Spirit and so become prophets. As such, we cannot pretend not to see the works of evil, so as to live a ‘quiet life’ and not get our hands dirty,” he said Nov. 6 in Sacred Heart Church in Manama.
“How is it possible for a Christian who wants to live his faith not to get his or her hands dirty?” the pope reiterated. “On the contrary, we received a Spirit of prophecy to proclaim the Gospel by our living witness.”
Pope Francis met with Catholic priests, religious, and lay people on the last day of his historic visit to Bahrain, an overwhelmingly Muslim country.
His Nov. 3-6 trip included encounters with authorities, Muslim leaders, and the small Catholic community, including a Mass with around 30,000 people in Bahrain’s national soccer stadium — the first-ever public papal Mass in the country.
Sunday’s prayer service, which concluded with the Marian prayer known as the Angelus, was attended by an estimated 600 Catholics engaged in ministry in the Arabian countries of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar. In his speech, the pope noted that there was also a contingency from Lebanon.
In his welcoming remarks, the apostolic administrator of northern Arabia, Bishop Paul Hinder, OFM Cap, said the people in attendance reflected “the cultural and ethnic diversity of the migrant Church in this part of the world.”
“Many of them are struggling daily but do so with deep faith, trusting that we are all in the hands of our Heavenly Father,” the bishop said, noting that the Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia has 60 priests and an estimated 2 million Catholics.
He said there are also around 1,300 lay catechists teaching more than 16,000 children.
“All of them work as volunteers, sometimes under very difficult conditions because of the restrictions in some countries regarding religious freedom, work permits and residency permits,” he said.