Christians Consecrate First Church in Qatar

March 17, 2008

DOHA, Qatar – Thousands of worshipers have attended the consecration of Qatar’s first Christian church, ending decades of underground worship in the Sunni Muslim Persian Gulf nation.Cardinal Ivan Dias presented the new Roman Catholic parish of Our Lady of the Rosary with a chalice offered by Pope Benedict. Saturday’s five-hour Mass was conducted in English with prayers in Arabic, Hindi and the Tagalog language of the Philippines.

Some 3,000 worshipers filled the church, and 7,000 more gathered outside.

The church’s exterior features no Christian symbols that would offend local Muslims.

Nearby, five more churches are under construction for other Christian denominations in oil-rich Qatar, where more than 70 percent of the population is comprised of expatriate workers.

Courtesy of AP News