St. Mary's Catholic Church, Dubai

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St. Mary's Catholic Church, Dubai is a church founded by Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the late Vice President and Prime Minister of the U.A.E. In 1966 he donated land to build the church. Rev. Fr. Eusebius Daveri and his team pioneered this project. Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum inaugurated St. Mary’s Catholic Church on 7 April 1967.[1] It was demolished in 1988 to make way for a larger church to accommodate the growing number of Catholics.

The Catholic community was at first served from Bahrain, but with the passage of time there was a need for a priest permanently residing there. Fr. Barnabas therefore turned to the wise and benevolent Sheikh Rashid and requested an area for a house of worship. This was immediately granted, but it was not used as it was too far.

In 1965 Fr. Eusebio Daveri arrived in Dubai. He obtained an area that was more convenient and, all by himself, began to make the preparations for a building. In the beginning of 1966 a parish hall was ready. The foundation stone for the church was laid by Sheikh Rashid himself on 25 May 1966, and on 7 April 1967 it was solemnly blessed by Mgr. Magliacani and dedicated to Mary Assumed into Heaven.

Besides the church, Fr. Eusebio built a beautiful school, for the construction of which he personally made, with the help of two workmen, 16,000 concrete bricks. However, in no time at all, the school needed to be expanded. A new wing was added and inaugurated on 26 May 1976, on the occasion of the Bishop Gremoli's first visit to Dubai. The arrival of the Comboni Sisters, on 6 September 1977, brought the school into the mainstream of life in the Emirates. Today it has 2,200 pupils and is considered one of the best English-medium schools in the Persian Gulf region. It is affiliated to the University of London and is licensed to issue Advanced Level Certificates.

The current church that has been designed to accommodate more than 2,200 worshipers at each Mass, under the guidance of Rev. Bishop Paul Hinder, Rev. Fr. Daniel Cerofolini OFM. Cap, Fr. Michael Cardoz and their team, who pioneered this project. This church was inaugurated on 3 November 1989.[1] Later the Jebel Ali Church was built to accommodate the newer areas of Dubai.[2] The current Parish priest is Rev. Fr. Lennie J. A. Connully. Currently, services here are held in English, Arabic, Tagalog, French, Konkani, Malayalam, Tamil, Sinhalese, Urdu and Portuguese.

Reportedly, It is currently known as the world's largest parish.

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