Bishop Martinelli: ‘My new mission will be to promote fraternity’
by Antonella Palermo and Lisa Zengarini, Vatican News
Bishop Paolo Martinelli, the newly appointed Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia, speaks to Vatican News about his new mission in the Arabian Peninsula.
On 1 May, Pope Francis appointed Italian Bishop Paolo Martinelli, O.F.M Cap, as the new Apostolic Vicar of the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia, after accepting the resignation presented by his Capucin confrere, Bishop Paul Hinder.
The Vicariate covers Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and war-torn Yemen. Catholics in these majority Muslim countries are a small community of some one million people, composed almost exclusively of foreign immigrant workers and expatriates from different nations. Since 1916, the Arabic Peninsula has been entrusted to members of the Franciscan family.
Ahead of his canonical installation, Bishop Martinelli, presently Auxiliary Bishop in Milan, Italy, spoke to Vatican News’ Antonella Palermo about the challeges of his new mission among peoples of different cultures and religions in a majority Muslim context.
‘Fratelli tutti’ a point of reference
In this regard, he said the ‘Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together’ signed in Abu Dhabi on February 4 2019 by Pope Francis and the Grand Iman Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb of Al-Azhar, and the subsequent Encyclical Letter ‘Fratelli tutti’, will both be a great source of inspiration in his pastoral work in Southern Arabia.
He said that the two documents are particularly meaningful to him, a Capucin, as they are inspired by St. Francis of Assisi, who prophetically showed that fraternal dialogue and sharing between peoples of different cultures and religions are a “viable prospect”.