by Bishop Paolo Martinelli*
In his message on the occasion of Easter, Bishop Martinelli refers to the local community, made up of “different nations, cultures, languages and rites”. He called her to testify that it is possible “to be diverse and united” at the same time. Marked by wars, divisions, extremism and walls, the world needs Christian “witness”.
Abu Dhabi () – We are a “Church of migrants” made up of “people of different nations, cultures, languages and rites”. Its unity and cohesion are based on the same “faith in Easter” and “one baptism” that makes it a living community. With an appeal for unity in diversity, Msgr. Paolo Martinelli, Apostolic Vicar of South Arabia (United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen) addresses the faithful of the Gulf region – most of them migrants – on the occasion of Easter. In his speech, sent to , the prelate recalls that “we are called to testify that it is possible to be different and to be united”. Because, he warns, today’s world, marked by wars, divisions, extremism and walls, needs this testimony “more than ever.”
Values such as unity in diversity, meeting and dialogue are some of the founding elements of the “Abrahamic Family House”, opened in mid-February in Abu Dhabi. The interreligious complex is the result of the visit of Pope Francis to the United Arab Emirates in 2019, and the signing of the document on fraternity with the imam of al-Azhar. It is made up of a church, a mosque and a synagogue, and is defined as a “contagious, alive and luminous” symbol. Introducing the place of worship, the former personal secretary of Pope Francis, Monsignor Gaid Yoannis Lahzi, noted that the Christian community is made up of migrant workers, some “sons of the second generation.” In the Emirates, he added, people of “more than 200 different nationalities live and it is a country where everyone can exercise” their faith “freely”.
Below we publish the complete message of Bishop Martinelli on the occasion of Easter:
Dear brothers and sisters:
May the Lord instill in you the peace and joy of the Risen Christ.
To all of you, I wish you blessings and joy this Easter.
Indeed, the Easter party is not just another celebration. It is the reason that founds our Christian faith. The Christian faith is a paschal faith that has its foundation in the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In Christianity, everything has its origin in that Sunday morning, when some women and a part of the apostles find the tomb where Jesus had been buried empty. In a way as mysterious as real and concrete, Jesus appears before them. From there also arises the announcement that is part of the Christian faith: Jesus Christ, the crucified, has risen, he has truly risen!
And this announcement of joy and hope still resounds today in a world afflicted by enormous suffering and great uncertainty. There are wars and conflicts that are omens of death and destruction for many, in different parts of the earth. Sometimes even in our hearts, when we harbor doubts and fears about the future assail us. We need an active hope on which to build relationships and through which to promote the common good, together with all men and women of good will.
Precisely in these days I invite you all to rediscover the beauty of our baptism, by which we are called to participate in the resurrection of Christ and to become children of God.
Let us joyfully receive the announcement of Easter, which proclaims victory over evil and death, and let us become promoters of reconciliation and a more fraternal world.
We are a Church of migrants, made up of people from different nations, cultures, languages and rites. But we are united by the same faith at Easter and by the same baptism. We are called to witness that it is possible to be different and, at the same time, to be united. Because the world needs this testimony today more than ever.
Lastly, I invoke the blessing of the Holy Trinity on all of you and your families.
May the Lord bring peace and joy into your hearts. Christ was resurected. He Truly he is risen!
Happy Easter everyone!
* Vicar Apostolic of South Arabia (United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen