In the paved open area surrounding Our Lady of the Rosary, Qatar’s first Catholic church, Arabic, English and Tagalog are all regularly spoken.
Arabs, Filipinos, Indians and Europeans converge on the church, one of several in a growing compound on the outskirts of Qatar’s capital city. Since it opened a year ago, the church, with its striking stained-glass windows and seating capacity of about 2,500, has seen congregations double in size.
“It’s nice to practise your own religion in a foreign land,” said Michael Ajero, a 34-year-old Filipino bank employee who attends the church.
“It’s a matter of pride and it means we can share with our Islamic brothers the practices and what we do as Catholics.”
Father Tomasito Veneracion, the priest of the parish of Our Lady of the Rosary, said there had been objections to the opening of the church and the development of the larger Christian compound. “It was not people coming here, but more intellectual arguments in the Arabic newspapers,” he said.
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