Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra presided over a ceremony to officially open the new Apostolic Nunciature to the UAE on February 4.
The event took place on the same day as the 2nd International Day of Human Fraternity, which commemorates Pope Francis’ signing of the Document on Human Fraternity in Abu Dhabi in 2019.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Archbishop Peña Parra, Substitute of the Secretariat of State, expressed the Pope’s best wishes for the recent celebration of the 50th anniversary of the country’s founding.
The presence of this new Apostolic Nunciature is a further sign of the Holy Father’s solicitude and concern for all the people in this land.
Positive role of religion in society
The Archbishop said the new diplomatic outpost demonstrates the “good bilateral relations that already exist between the United Arab Emirates and the Holy See” as the two mark the 15th anniversary of diplomatic relations.
“I am convinced that the relationship formed over this period is based on a mutual understanding of the importance of faith and the positive role that religion should play in society.”
Archbishop Peña Parra said Pope Francis’ signing of the 2019 Document on Human Fraternity, with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed Al-Tayyeb, affirmed the important role of faith in Emirati society.
The Document, he added, showcases the elements that unite Christians and Muslims, and the need for all to live in fraternity, despite our differences.
“Contrary to any distortion or manipulation of religion, the response to this call can be nothing other than choosing the path of dialogue, which leads to better mutual understanding and cooperation.”
Place of encounter
Archbishop Peña Parra said the new Embassy can serve as a place of “encounter and dialogue for our bilateral cooperation for years to come.”
The Venezuelan Archbishop also expressed Pope Francis’ closeness to Catholics living in the UAE.
“May this place be a source of encouragement to them as they strive to live their faith and be examples of human fraternity to all their brothers and sisters in this land,” he said.