Dubai Malankara Catholic Community
DUBAI “Famous in the past as a market-place exporting gold and for printing stamps, Dubai owes its present prosperity to its oil resources which have made it the commercial centre of the Emirates…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, …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 Msgr. Magliacani and dedicated to Mary Assumed into Heaven… Besides the church, Fr. Eusebio built a beautiful school”. This school is eligible to issue Advanced Level Certificates because it is affiliated to the University of London. St. Francis Jebel Ali began in 2004 as an extension of St. Mary’s; today it is a parish with its own trade license.
Excavation of oil in the Middle East and consequent development of industry and trade have been reasons of attraction for Malankarites like many others from around the world. Isolated and individual presence of persons from the Malankara Catholic Church in Dubai during the 1960s may still be investigated by interested persons. However Mr. Mathews Varghese Puthenveettil, came to Dubai on 23- 3- 1968 to work for the Costain Company. He used to involve himself with St. Mary’s Church Dubai ehre he remembers Father Eusebio Daveri, the parish priest very well. He is retired as an administrative officer for the ruler’s office in Khorfokan and lives now with his family at Ernakulam. Mr. Mathews relates about the visit of Bishop, Zacharias Mar Athanasios of Thiruvalla to Dubai around 1973. The bishop stayed in Hotel Calton where Mr. MVP proudly speaks of receiving a blessing and offering a kaimuth. Eventually many others came during the late seventies and thereafter as individuals and families; thus today we are in many hundreds in Dubai and Jebel Ali alone.
Reverend Father Thomas Padinjarekoot, may his soul rest in peace, celebrated Malankara Holy Mass for the first time in Dubai and Abu Dhabi on his way back home from Germany in 1983. Later Reverend Father Thomas Thomas Kottarathil also celebrated Holy Mass while visiting Dubai as principal of Mar Ivanios college. May his soul rest in peace; he died in an accident in 1987. Very Reverend Father Abraham Kackanatt (now Bishop Abraham Mar Julios) encouraged the formation of Malankara communities in DXB, AUH, and SHJ. Almost after ten years Very Reverend Father Gheevarghese Mannikkarot (now Cor Episcopo) visited communities and imparted further enlightenment and it has been a second step to progress. Moreover the interest and efficiency our brothers and sisters express do require greater appreciation for what we are proud of today as “our Church”. It is our desire to follow what have been taught by our Fathers of the Church and our Family Fathers. Our desire to maintain our Malankara identity in itself is a gift of God and so we are determined to keep it as the apple of our eyes. We would proudly make use of this time to thank the St.Mary’s parish for its valuable support the for Malankara community.