Fujairah’s Roman Catholic community thanks UAE for respecting “all kinds of religions”

For Fujairah's Roman Catholic community, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church is the perfect place for worship, prayer and cooperation.
Father P Sagayaraj, of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, says many different communities attend church services.  Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Father P Sagayaraj, of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, says many different communities attend church services. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

FUJAIRAH // Since 2002 Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church has been bringing together and supporting Roman Catholics in Fujairah.

The church also provides medical, educational and financial support to those in need, as well as social and fundraising activities.

“Our church is a combination of almost everything. We are here to serve God and humanity. People come here not only to pray but also to meet and help others,” said Father P Sagayaraj, an Indian cleric at the church.

“We serve many communities such as Pakistanis, Filipinos, Arabs, Sri Lankans and Indians, and we cover Khor Fakkan, Kalba and Fujairah.

“I joined the church in September and I am really happy that I did. Fujairah is a very quiet and peaceful place, which really helps people to be closer to God by being away from other distractions.

“This country respects all kinds of religions and gives you the right to practice your religious beliefs. You can’t find that in many other countries. For this reason you can’t give back anything but respect to the Government and the people of the Emirates.”

The Roman Catholic community in Fujairah celebrated Christmas in various ways.

The Rodriguues family worked for three weeks before Christmas to build an award-winning Christmas crib.

Crizol Rodriguues, 43, from India, said he and his family did so as part of their yearly Christmas celebrations. His three daughters had worked hard and managed to win the church’s “most beautiful crib” competition.

Christmas was very special to him and his family, he said, adding that they and other families had organised a party with games and presents.

Although the Rodriguues had been away from their country for nearly nine years, Mr Rodriguues said he and his family did not feel sad and isolated.

His wife, Penny Rodriguues, 42, said: “This country is our home away from home. The sense of belonging and the freedom that is given to us here is incomparable.” She said the family prayed at the weekends and sometimes on weekdays.

“I do the reading at the church and my elder daughter plays the piano in the church choir,” she said.

Filippino Roselle Garcia, 30, has been working in Fujairah for almost three years.

“The month of December means a lot to me. I look forward to it each year,” she said.

“It’s the time for celebrations and new beginnings, gathering around, buying gifts for each other, feeling blessed and loved,” she said.

“It’s hard to be away from your own family during this particular month, but seeing the smile on their faces when sending them money to buy gifts and celebrate fills your heart with joy. It is really an indescribable moment.”

Timothy D’souza, a 39-year-old Indian who has been working in Fujairah since 2010, said: “We respect all religions and we feel respected here in UAE. We pray for the Ruling family all the time and we are so grateful to them.

“I go to church almost every Friday, praying and meeting with friends and helping people in need by making donations.”


Published: December 30, 2014 04:00 AM


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