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The Catholic Church in Qatar is a part of the universal church whose spiritual head is the Pope. On May 31, 2011, according to a decree of the holy see, Qatar was detached from the Apostolic Vicariate of Arabia and included in the newly formed ecclesiastical territory of the Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia.The Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia is under the spiritual care and guidance of His Lordship Bishop Camillo Ballin,MCCJ.


The Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia (previously known as the Apostolic Vicariate of Kuwait) came into existence on May 31, 2011, following a decree from the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. The new Vicariate has embraced the northern Gulf territories of Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia in addition to Kuwait, and is under the pastoral guidance of His Lordship Bishop Camillo Ballin, mccj, a Combonian Bishop of the Latin Rite.

The Order of Friars Minor Capuchin has the Jus Commissionis for the territory. Most of the priests are Capuchin Friars. There are also Diocesan Priests and those belonging to the Carmelite Order, the Salesian Congregation and to different Rites.


Christianity arrived in the Arabian Peninsula before Islam, in the first four and five centuries after Jesus Christ. Remains of a Christian Church of the fifth century are in Failaka (Kuwait) and in other places of the Peninsula. Islam came up during the seventh century. The Arabian Peninsula is now the centre of a growing economy and one of the world’s hotspots for the Church, too. Many think that there are no Christians in Arabia and they are surprised on a visit here or when they read about it.


The Church in the Arabian Peninsula is an exclusively pilgrim and migrant Church. Since the early nineties, the Catholic Church in the region has developed even more rapidly. The expatriates constitute nearly all of the faithful in the Vicariate. Though no official figures exist, it is estimated that there are over 1 million Catholics in Saudi Arabia alone. Kuwait has about 350,000; Bahrain around 80,000 and Qatar around 200,000 to 300,000 Catholics. The faithful are all working migrants from a hundred nations, the majority being from the Philippines and India. About eighty percent of the faithful belong to the Latin Rite while the rest belong to the Eastern Rite. It would not be untrue to say that Arabia has now become the face of a living Christian community, a “bridge” between diverse areas of the world and therefore between diverse cultures.

The Catholic presence in Arabia where Islam is the state religion is a seemingly peaceful one. The Catholic community is law abiding and trusted by the local governments. We enjoy freedom of worship within the confines of our parish compounds. The running of the parishes is further enhanced by the dedicated service of the pastors and the parish organizations made up of thousands of lay volunteers in catechesis, youth and family ministry, hospital and prison apostolate and social work.

However, restriction on the number of priests, too few churches and limited space in the churches are the difficulties that we face, especially when the attendance at Masses is very high, around 25,000 on Fridays with 10 and more Masses and during the Christmas and Eastertide. Other problems such as distance from the church, employment and camp rules also make participation for many impossible. It is also forbidden (under threat of punishment) to engage in any public activity or display of religion, including proselytizing (the act of attempting to convert people to Christianity).




The Vicariate is a rich blend of Rites, nationalities and cultures and so the Church has had to adapt its pastoral work accordingly. The Rescript ex audientia approved by Pope John Paul II in 2003 and confirmed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006 gives jurisdiction over all the faithful of whatever Church, rite or nationality, to the Bishop resident in the Gulf and under whose sole jurisdiction all the priests in the Vicariates work. The Bishop has the obligation that the faithful of the other Rites may practice and observe the norms of their Rite, which they do to the best of their ability. The Rescript has helped to maintain and promote unity, to avoid fragmentation and to provide the best possible pastoral ministry to all the Catholic faithful.


The two Vicariates of the Arabian Peninsula were re-organized in 1911, after almost 58 years. They have been re-organized due to the previous unequal distribution of the territories of the two Vicariates and also because both the Vicariates have been entrusted to the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (OFM Cap.)

Both the Vicariates in the Arabian Peninsula have been placed under the protection of Our Lady of Arabia. On January 16, 2011, in Kuwait, Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, proclaimed Our Lady of Arabia Patroness of both Vicariates and of the entire Arabian Peninsula.

May the Mother of God, Mary Most Holy, Supreme Witness intercede to make more vibrant the witness of the Church in Arabia.


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The Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Rosary (Arabic: كنيسة سيدة الوردية‎) is a Roman Catholic church in DohaQatar. It is located, along with churches of other Christian denominations, at the Religious Complex in Abu Hamour. It is the first church built in the country since the Muslim conquests in the 7th century.

The church was constructed at a cost of around $20 million on land donated by the Emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. Due to the laws in Islamic Qatar, the church displays no Christian symbols like crosses, bells, or a steeple on its exterior.

The Roman Catholics number around 200,000 to 300,000. Christian group worship is permitted among the six registered Christian denominations at a government-provided area in Mesaymir, on the outskirts of Doha, on land donated by Emir Hamad bin Khalifa. Construction of the Interdenominational Christian Church at the "Church City" complex in Mesaymir was completed in 2009, and the complex was inaugurated in March by Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Energy and Industry. In his speech, he said, "This church is a sign of a possible dialogue between the different faiths. The church sends a positive message to the world."

Before its inception, Catholics used to pray and worship in makeshift "chapels" - homes and a school. Following the Iranian Revolution, the practice of non-Islamic religions was prohibited in Qatar. Finally, in 1995, the new Emir, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, granted freedom of worship, and other priests could enter the country and assist the parish priest (Father John Vanderleen), who until then had maintained a very low profile. Thereafter, the house of Father John the American Priest who was a teacher at the American school, also served as a chapel. When his house was demolished to make room for the Olympic village, the Catholic community managed to rent a large villa as a residence for the priests. The villa had ample land around it, large enough to construct a building for about four hundred people. Finally there was a proper church, though not an officially permitted one! It was called “the chapel”, because of its size and because it was temporary. An office and classrooms for catechism were later added to the chapel and, finally, the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Our Lady of the Rosary is the first Catholic church in Qatar. Vatican Radio said the opening of the church in Qatar was "an event of historical importance after 14 centuries." The church which has a beautiful interior is saucer-shaped. The exterior has no cross, bell, steeple or signboard. On March 14, 2009, the church was consecrated and dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary, during a ceremony that was celebrated by H.E. Ivan Cardinal Dias, then Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and concelebrated by H.L. Bishop Gremoli, the two Apostolic Vicars of the Arabian Peninsula, Bishop Paul Hinder and Bishop Camillo Ballin, and the clergy. Around 15,000 faithful attended the inauguration Mass and consecration ceremony. The Cardinal thanked "God and Qatar for this great gift of the church." On the occasion, he offered to the church a chalice sent by Pope Benedict XVI. The church is equipped to hold around 5,000 people. On the premises, there is also a parish building (with many halls for catechism and other activities), a rectory, a library and a cafe.

The parish is administered by Priests of the Order of Capuchin Friars Minor - the Order that has been entrusted with the Jus Commissionis (pastoral responsibility and authority) for the Vicariate.

Qatar established diplomatic relations with the Holy See in 2003. The current Emir has been praised for his religious tolerance and support of inter-religious dialogue, despite keeping a firm eye on Islamic law.


patron saints of our vicariate

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Our Lady of Arabia is a Roman Catholic title of the Blessed Virgin Mary holding a Rosary and the Child Jesus as venerated in Kuwait and Bahrain by its faithful devotees. She is the Patroness of the Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia.

The image was advocated by Pope Pius XII who authorised its devotion, while Pope John XXIII granted a Canonical Coronation to the venerated image on 25 March 1960 through Cardinal Valerian Gracias. On 5 January 2011, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments proclaimed her Patroness of the Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia and designated the feast of the image on the Saturday preceding the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time with the permission to celebrate it also on Friday or Sunday.

Church where the image is enshrined and venerated.


The original image is derived from an image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel brought to Al Ahmadi, Kuwait on 1 May 1948. On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception 1948, the priest, Father Teofano Ubaldo Stella of the Carmelite Order had it framed and brought out for veneration. In 1949, the Legion of Mary used their own image of Miraculous Medal, which encouraged Father Stella to commission an image in Italy under the sculpting company Rosa and Zanzio Ditta to carve a statue of the Madonna and Child using a cedar of Lebanon. The image was brought to Pope Pius XII who also venerated the image and authorised its Marian title.

On Orthodox Christmas, 6 January 1950, the statue was returned to Kuwait for public veneration by the faithful.

In 1954, Kuwaiti soldiers travelled to Rome for the hundredth anniversary of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, and presented another replica of the image at the Parish of Saint Teresa in Rome. On 16 September 1954, the same image was brought to Pope Pius XII, who blessed the statue at Castel Gandolfo. In May 1956, Pius XII sent a special candle to the new parish built in Ahmadi, especially chosen by him from that year's Candlemas ceremonies in Rome.

In 1956, Bishop Stella petitioned the Holy See to proclaim the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady of Arabia as Patroness of Kuwait. Pope Pius XII granted his consent via the Papal bull Regnum Mariae on 25 January 1957. A solid gold crown studded with precious rubies and diamonds was crafted and then brought to Rome, where Pope John XXIII personally blessed it on 17 March 1960. Bishop Stella donated a particular pearl to the crown as well.

The Canonical coronation was further authorised by Pope John XXIII, which occurred on 25 March 1960 via the Papal legate Cardinal Valerian Gracias of Bombay. On 5 January 2011, Pope Benedict XVI approved the patronage by assigning the Marian title was the principal patroness for the Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia.

Pontifical approbation


On 25 January 1957 decree Regnum Mariae, Pope Pius XII, declared Our Lady of Arabia the principal patron of the territory and the Vicariate Apostolic of Kuwait.

Pope Benedict XVI approved her title as Patroness for the Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia on 5 January 2011.

In a gesture of goodwill, the king of Bahrain, His Majesty King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa, granted the Catholic community in Bahrain around 9,000 square metres of land in Awali to build a new church. The news was conveyed to His Lordship Camillo Ballinapostolic vicar of the Vicariate of Northern Arabia on 11 February 2013. Bishop Camillo personally expressed his gratitude to the king of Bahrain, His Majesty King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa, for this kind gesture and the Government of Bahrain for their support.

A cathedral will be built on this land that will serve as the bishopric headquarters for the Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia. According to Bishop Camillo, the cathedral will be dedicated to Our Lady of Arabia. Construction of the cathedral is currently in progress.


O Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Arabia and our Patroness! To you we offer up our prayers for the needs of the Church here and throughout the world. Help us to remain one with your Son Jesus and united amongst ourselves, so that we may be true witnesses for Christ in our daily lives and that the Lord's blessings of peace and harmony be within our families and communities always. Trusting in your maternal intercession, we beseech you to hear our humble prayers and grant us the graces we seek... so that we may give glory to God forever. Amen.

Our lady of Arabia, pray for us.

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Arethas or Aretas (Arabic: الحارث‎ "al-Ḥārith") was the leader of the Christian community of Najran in the early 6th century, was executed during the persecution of Christians by the Jewish king Dhu Nuwas in 523.He is known from the Acta S. Arethae (also called Martyrium sancti Arethae or Martyrium Arethae) which exists in two recensions: the earlier and more authentic, which was found by Michel Le Quien (Oriens Christianus,  428) and was subsequently dated as no later than the 7th century; the later, revised by Simeon Metaphrastes, dates from the 10th century. The Ge'ez and Arabic versions of the text were published in 2006 and the Greek version in 2007.

Feast day: 27 July (Roman Catholic Church)  In Eastern Orthodox Church his feast day is 24 October (6 November O.C.).


O LORD, by the sufferings Thy saint endured for Thy sake,

have compassion and heal all the sufferings of us who implore Thee, Who alone art the Lover of Mankind.

sT, Arethas, pray for us.



Our Lady of the Rosary, also known as Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary in relation to the Rosary.

The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, formerly known as Our Lady of Victory and Feast of the Holy Rosary, is a feast day of the Roman Catholic Church, celebrated on 7 October, the anniversary of the decisive victory of the combined fleet of the Holy League of 1571 over the Ottoman navy at the Battle of Lepanto.

According to Dominican tradition, in 1206, St. Dominic was in Prouille, France, attempting to convert the Albigensians back to the Catholic faith. The young priest had little success until one day he received a vision of the Blessed Virgin, who gave him the Rosary as a tool against heretics. While Mary's giving the rosary to St. Dominic is generally acknowledged as a legend, the development of this prayer form owes much to the followers of St. Dominic, including the 15th-century priest and teacher, Alanus de Rupe.

Our Lady of Victory

In 1571, Pope Pius V organized a coalition of forces from Spain and smaller Christian kingdoms, republics and military orders, to rescue Christian outposts in Cyprus, particularly the Venetian outpost at Famagusta which, however, surrendered after a long siege on August 1 before the Christian forces set sail. On October 7, 1571, the Holy League, a coalition of southern European Catholic maritime states, sailed from MessinaSicily, and met a powerful Ottoman fleet in the Battle of Lepanto. Knowing that the Christian forces were at a distinct materiel disadvantage, the holy pontiff, Pope Pius V, called for all of Europe to pray the Rosary for victory, and led a rosary procession in Rome.

After about five hours of fighting on the northern edge of the Gulf of Corinth, off western Greece, the combined navies of the Papal States, Venice and Spain managed to stop the Ottoman navy, slowing the Ottoman advance to the west and denying them access to the Atlantic Ocean and the Americas. If the Ottomans had won then there was a real possibility that an invasion of Italy could have followed so that the Ottoman sultan, already claiming to be emperor of the Romans, would have been in possession of both New and Old Rome. Combined with the unfolding events in Morocco where the Sa'adids successfully spurned the Ottoman advances, it confined Turkish naval power to the eastern Mediterranean. Although the Ottoman Empire was able to build more ships, it never fully recovered from the loss of trained sailors and marines, and was never again the Mediterranean naval power it had become the century before when Constantinople fell.

Feast day

Pius V instituted "Our Lady of Victory" as an annual feast to commemorate the victory at Lepanto, which he attributed to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Dedications to Our Lady of Victory had preceded this papal declaration. In particular, Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester built the first shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Victory in thanks for the Catholic victory over the Albigensians at the Battle of Muret on September 12, 1213. In thanksgiving for victory at the Battle of Bouvines in July 1214, Philip Augustus of France founded the Abbey of Notre Dame de la Victoire, between Senlis and Mont l'Evêque.

In 1573, Pope Gregory XIII changed the title of the "Feast of Our Lady of Victory" to "Feast of the Holy Rosary", to be celebrated on the first Sunday of October. Dominican friar Juan Lopez in his 1584 book on the rosary states that the feast of the rosary was offered "in memory and in perpetual gratitude of the miraculous victory that the Lord gave to his Christian people that day against the Turkish armada".

In 1671 the observance of this festival was extended by Clement X to the whole of Spain, and somewhat later Clement XI, after the victory over the Turks gained by Prince Eugene in the Battle of Petrovaradin on 5 August 1716 (the feast of Our Lady of the Snows), commanded the feast of the Rosary to be celebrated by the universal Church.

Leo XIII raised the feast to the rank of a double of the second class and added to the Litany of Loreto the invocation "Queen of the Most Holy Rosary". On this feast, in every church in which the Rosary confraternity has been duly erected, a plenary indulgence toties quoties is granted upon certain conditions to all who visit therein the Rosary chapel or statue of Our Lady. This has been called the "Portiuncula" of the Rosary.

Pius X in 1913 changed the date to 7 October, as part of his effort to restore celebration of the liturgy of the Sundays. In 1960 under Pope John XXIII it is listed under the title "Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Rosary"; and under the 1969 liturgical reforms of Pope Paul VI "Our Lady of the Rosary" is mentioned as a mandatory memorial.


Our Lady of the Rosary is the patron saint of several places around the world. The diocese of Malaga, Spain (which, however celebrates her patronage on September 8), and the Spanish cities of Melilla and Trujillo celebrate Our Lady of Victories as their patroness. Furthermore, María del Rosario is a common female Spanish name (colloquially abbreviated to Rosario or Charo). Rosario can also be used as a male first name, particularly in Italian. The cathedral for the Diocese of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio is named after Our Lady Of the Rosary.

Churches named for Our Lady of the Rosary


Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary in Fátima, Portugal.

  • The cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary is located in Duluth, Minnesota. The cathedral church of the Diocese of San Bernardino, California, is also named in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary. The church of Our Lady of the Rosary on State Street in New York City began in 1883 as the Mission of Our Lady of the Rosary for the protection of Irish immigrant girls; it houses the shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. A new Sanctuary was erected in the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary of San Nicolás and apparitions and locations were approved "worthy of belief" by the local ordinary in May 2006.Our Lady of the Rosary church is in Jashpur, ChhattisgarhIndia. It is the second largest church in Asia, by seating capacity which can accommodate 10,000 worshippers. The Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary or Holy Rosary Cathedral is located in Vancouver, Canada.

Our lady of THE ROSARY, pray for us.


bishops and parish priest       through

the years


H.E. Bishop Bernard  Giovanni  Gremoli, Ofm, Cap. 

Born 30.06.1926

Died 06.07.2017

H.E. Bishop Camillo Ballin, mccj 

Born 30.06.1926

Died 2020


Fr. Leszek Wisnieski 

Parish Priest:

August 1986 - July 1989

Fr. Lawson John Vandeerlin

Parish Priest:

July 1989 - October 2002

H.G. Archbsihop Francisco Montecillo Padilla

Apostolic Nuncio 

-June 2020

H.E. Bishop Paul Hinder, Ofm Cap. 

Apostolic Administrator 2020


Fr. Lester Mendosa

Parish Priest:

October 2002 - October 2005


Fr. Tomasito Veneracion, Ofm Cap.

Parish Priest:

February 2006- July 2009


Fr. Peter P. Mathew, Ofm Cap.

Parish Priest:

July 2009 - July 2013


Fr. Selvaraj Arockiam, Ofm Cap.

Parish Priest:

July 2013 - July 2017

Fr. Rally Gonzaga, Ofm Cap.

Parish Priest:

July 2017 - current


Stained-Glass Windows of the main church

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The stained–glass windows of Our Lady of the Rosary of Doha have been bought, restored, transported and placed in full legality by the Catholic Church and thanks to the donations of the faithful. It is the realisation of the stained – glass expert well known in France, Emile Hirsch (1832-1904). The stained – glass windows deal only with religious themes.

The taking out authorization from french territory has been granted by the french Ministry of Culture.

The architecture of the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary has been done in such a way as to receive these pieces so that


they can stay in a good condition sheltered from the heat and the sand. Eight of them have been put in a good position in the choir of the Church. The two others have been placed in the chapel adjacent to the Church.

The stained – glass windows of Hirsch are the property of the Catholic Church of Qatar and under her full responsibility.


Each window glass measures 3.7m x 0.98m and is made of colored glass fragments, painted, held together by lead strips called cames. The pictures are held together by a medieval system of iron and steel straps, bars and pegs:



















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