Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Eve Mass - Abu Dhabi

Christmas Eve Mass at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Abu Dhabi, was held outdoors due to the huge crowd attending. There were about 10,00 people at the 8 p.m. mass. An even larger crowd was expected for the Midnight Mass.
Father Francis Jamieson gave a rare "general absolution" because many people, through no fault of their own, could not go to confession before Christmas. The main celebrant, whose name I don't know, said we should reach out to not only the poor but the lonely. Loneliness is something that everyone goes through some time, he said, and it's one of the hardest things to bare.
St. Joseph's is the only catholic church in metropolitan Abu Dhabi. It serves 100,000 parishioners. At a recent confirmation-candidates' gathering, a priest looked at the jam-packed community hall and sighed. He said the enormous number of teens at St. Joseph's is "both the church's greatest blessing and its greatest handicap." The priests here work hard to serve the catholic community well.
(In the picture above, there is a football-field-sized awning overhead; this covers the area between the rear of the church and a St. Joseph's classroom building and provides much needed shade on the many hot days in Abu Dhabi.)

It was a beautiful evening. When the Christmas Eve mass ended, thousands of people dispersed peacefully.

This picture above shows the area between the main church (on the left) and the church hall (on the right). Straight ahead is one of the St. Joseph's School classroom buildings.

Weekends in Abu Dhabi are Friday-Saturday, so our children attend catechism class on Friday mornings and then we all attend a youth mass afterwards.

It took a few minutes for the crowds to exit through the few openings in the walled-in grounds of St. Joseph's. All churches are in one area in Abu Dhabi - the catholic, protestant, and Koptic churches. In the background, on the right of this picture, is Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Mosque. Posted by Picasa

5 comments:

david santos said...

Nice photos, thank you



I wish you a good end of 2007 and a good year of 2008.

Frances Gunnison said...

Thank you. All good wishes to you and your loved ones in 2008.

Samantha said...

HEY HIEE

WAS REALLY NICE READIN UR WRITE UP ON THE XMAS MASS...... REMINDED ME OF MY CHILDHOOD DAYS AT ST. JOSEPHS, .... I STUDIED THERE FROM THE JUNIOR kg UPTO THE 4TH GRADE.............


HEY I WOULD LIKE TO MORE ABOUT THE SCHOOL NOW, AS I AM IN INDIA ( GOA) FROM 1995... IT WD B REALLY NICE IF U COULD EMAIL ME MORE PICS OF THE SCHOOL N THE CHURCH ....

THANKING YOU... MY ID IS sweetz_sam@hotmail.com

ndirishusctrojan said...

My wife, Dee, and I, John, are moving to Abu Dhabi in early October to work in some of the construction projects. We are Catholic and would appreciate someone from St. Joseph's in Abu Dhabi contacting us to help us know what belongings to bring with us and what not to - and what items will not make it thru customs, such as my family crucifix, etc. Thank you and God bless...

Isabel Saguinsin II said...

Great post for the St. Joseph Church in Abu Dhabi and we are grateful that despite of built in a Muslim country, we were blessed to have a UAE government who are open to this kind of religion in their own country. They are indeed a generous country to be with for the expats.