Abu Dhabi: Bishop Hinder resigns, Pope appoints Martinelli as new Vicar

The outgoing church head of Southern Arabia continued to work for the betterment of the Catholic community in the region



by

Ashwani Kumar

Published: Tue 3 May 2022, 2:35 PM

Last updated: Tue 3 May 2022, 10:40 PM

Bishop Paul Hinder has resigned from the pastoral governance of the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia – a territorial jurisdiction of the Catholic Church covering the UAE, Oman and Yemen.

To succeed Hinder, Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Paolo Martinelli, the current Auxiliary Bishop of Milan in Italy, as the new Apostolic Vicar.

Monsignor Kryspin Dubiel, Charge d’Affaires of the Apostolic Nunciature in the UAE, noted that Hinder resigned upon reaching his retirement age. He pointed out that until Martinelli takes charge, Hinder will continue as the Apostolic Administrator of the Vicariate.

Bishop Paolo Martinelli. photo: Supplied
Bishop Paolo Martinelli. photo: Supplied

Addressing the followers, Hinder, who has led the Vicariate since 2004, welcomed Martinelli’s appointment.

“Bishop Martinelli is well known to me as an outstanding Franciscan Capuchin brother and priest. I am sure that our Vicariate will grow further under his pastoral guidance.”

Over the years, Hinder continued to work for the betterment of the Catholic community and developed good relations with the local authorities.

The highlight of his term came in 2019 with the historic visit to the Arabian Peninsula by the Pope, the head of the Catholic Church. Hinder termed the three-day visit of Pope Francis to the UAE a “historic moment”.

Pope Francis with Bishop Hinder in Abu Dhabi. (Vatican Media)
Pope Francis with Bishop Hinder in Abu Dhabi. (Vatican Media)

Then the Human Fraternity Document was signed by Pope Francis and Dr Ahmed Al Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al Azhar, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Last year, while marking the first UN International Day of Human Fraternity, Hinder said: “We are co-responsible for what happens tomorrow …. I feel it is necessary for us to take the small yet necessary steps: starting with being friendly, open, welcoming to each other, solving small local problems together… though the real and lasting fruits may only be enjoyed by the generations to come.”

Bishop Paul Hinder with other priests at St Joseph’s Cathedral in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Supplied
Bishop Paul Hinder with other priests at St Joseph’s Cathedral in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Supplied

Hinder, who turned 80 years old last month, urged the followers to shower Martinelli with the “same love and support” he experienced for the last 18 years.

“Pray for the new bishop and pray also for me.”

Hinder added that 64-year-old Martinelli would assume office in the coming months.

“The date of his installation will be communicated shortly.”

The Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia serves approximately 1 million Catholics and has its seat in Abu Dhabi.

St Joseph’s Cathedral in Abu Dhabi is the seat of the Bishop.

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