Whenever I hear of people jetting off to Dubai for their holidays it has always completely turned me off. The superficiality of the experience of the luxurious hotels, decadent casinos, and designer shops isn't my idea of holiday heaven. And the prospect of temperatures up beyond 40 degrees Celsius, with constant sun, just confirmed my supposition that I would never go to Arabia. Well that all changes next Wednesday. Under the auspices of the Maryvale Institute I'm off to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, not for a sun soaked holiday, but to run a two-day course for catechists. I understand that there will be about 50 catechists from all over the Arabian peninsula taking part, mostly made up of Philippino and Indian Catholics, who form the majority of the Catholics in the Vicariate. The classes will be on Christology, Ecclesiology, and Mariology - so it's really at the core of the Christian mystery. I am really relishing the opportunity to go to a place where such formation is eagerly awaited, and where there is a real hunger for the solid food of Catholic teaching. It will be quite a contrast to the nonchalant attitude of so many Catholics in this country towards formation in the Faith. The prospect of forming catechists living under the shadow of the minaret is also exciting, particularly as religious tolerance in many of the countries of the peninsula is not great. It feels like real missionary apostolate. Please pray for this venture and for all the participants...and that I survive the heat.
This is my first post for months, and Fr Richard has been getting on to me about posting, so maybe this will be me turning a new leaf and getting back to blogging a bit more regularly.