The Catholic community in Kuwait has been growing steadily from its very small beginnings. The Church in Kuwait has always been blessed to have zealous and dedicated priests and a congregation of fervent and devout parishioners, besides, the rich diversity of the people in terms of culture, language and practicing of the faith (the different rites) have enriched the Church in this part of the world. In a place with a floating population of migrant workers, it is not possible to establish the Church with full-fledged institutions of its own, however, with the sincere and generous co-operation of the clergy and the faithful, we have made tremendous strides in the spiritual aspects of Catholic life as expressed by the activities of each parish.
In this regard, we shall briefly highlight the areas of ministry in the parishes of the Vicariate.
LITURGICAL SERVICES in the Vicariate are held in English, Arabic, Tagalog, French, Konkani, Sinhalese, Bengali, Malayalam and Tamil. Masses are held daily in the three Churches, and are always well-attended. The Churches are filled to capacity on days of obligation and feast days. Eucharistic Adoration is conducted on First Fridays and at the Night Vigil on the third Thursday of each month. Novenas to our Blessed Mother, invoking her titles of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Our Lady of Arabia are recited weekly. Holy Rosaries are said daily before the Mass.
The EXTRAORDINARY MINISTERS OF HOLY COMMUNION assist in distributing Holy Communion to the large congregations in the three parishes. In times of necessity, they are deputed to administer Holy Communion to the sick at home or in hospitals and to those in prison. Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion receive sufficient spiritual, theological, and practical preparation to fulfill their role with knowledge and reverence. In all matters, they follow the guidance of the Bishop.
The LECTORS AND ALTAR BOYS' MINISTRY offers a unique opportunity for parishioners to become an active part of the Liturgy of the Eucharist and other liturgical celebrations.
The LEGION OF MARY was started in Kuwait over fifty years ago. The Legion of Mary is a world-wide apostolate of Catholic men and women who place themselves under the banner of Mary, Queen of the Legion. Their purpose remains for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. The three parishes have two Legion groups consisting of the Senior Praesidia and Junior Praesidia. These groups come together each week for prayer, discussions, pastoral reporting and spiritual formation. They perform their apostolic work under the guidance of a Spiritual Director. As Legionaries, the members try to perform at least two hours a week of apostolic work, such as visiting homes of new parishioners, shut-ins and those who have ceased to practice their Catholic Faith. Other works include home visitation within the parish boundaries, visiting hospitals, nursing homes and running spiritual groups for the youth, etc. The Legionaries also help in ascertaining if any sick parishioners are in need of any of the sacraments e.g. anointing of the sick, Reconciliation and Holy Communion. This is an important part of their ministry.
The CATHOLIC CHARISMATIC RENEWAL in Kuwait started in April 1980. Its members meet once a week to praise, thank and worship the Lord and testify to His ongoing work of conversion and blessings in their lives. The Vicariate presently has over 10 renewal groups that meet as different communities e.g. the English speaking group, the Konkani speaking group, the Malayalam speaking group, the various Filipino groups, the Bengali group, the Tamil and Sinhalese groups, and the Arabic speaking group. All the groups meet under the auspices of the Kuwait National Service Team (KNST) with the Bishop as its head. Meetings are conducted under the guidance of Spiritual Directors and members are encouraged to live spiritual lives with emphasis on prayer and frequent reception of the Eucharist. The spiritual growth of its members is sustained with sound Catholic teachings, through scripture reading, fellowship and sharing the Word. The members also participate actively in outreach programmes through the various ministries. The Visitation ministry visits the sick and lonely in hospitals and prisons. The Intercessory ministry prays for the general and particular needs of its members and all the people. The Phone-a-Prayer ministry is available to pray at any time in cases of emergencies or critical situations. The Library ministry provides Catholic reading material, the Audio/Video Library provides Catholic audio/video material, and the Social Cultural ministry looks after the various arrangements that need to be made during times of celebrations or fellowship.
The CHRISTIAN FAMILY APOSTOLATE (CFA) was started in 1993 to conduct marriage preparation courses, family enrichment programmes and teen fellowships.
The YOUTH MINISTRY helps to foster the personal and spiritual growth of teenagers and young adults of our parishes. Faith based programmes empower young people to live as disciples of Christ in our world today. Summer Club activities, seminars and workshops on leadership, communication and vocational guidance draw young people to responsible participation in the life, mission, and work of the community.
The NEO-CATECHUMENAL COMMUNITY was initiated in Kuwait on the 1st of December 2006 by His Lordship Bishop Camillo Ballin, MCCJ. What we do in the Community is that we have the preparation of the Word and of the Eucharist by different teams for the celebration of the Word on every Tuesday and the celebration of the Eucharist every Saturday. "The Way" was launched in response to Vatican II, and believes that the Church must react to social changes of the 19th and 20th centuries, particularly secularism, by becoming more of a community and returning to the teachings of the early Christians. Over the past thirty years it has built seminaries around the world and is today one of the fastest-growing ministries within the Church.
CATECHISM CLASSES are conducted in the three parishes for children ranging in ages from tiny-tots to teens, with special emphasis on preparing children for First Holy Communion and Confirmation. During the year, the children are trained to perform in skits, and various activities are held for them, such as talent competitions, "Christmas Tree", etc. At present, we have a total of 1800 catechism children in the Kuwait City parish, 380 children in the Ahmadi parish and 875 children in the Salmiya parish. Catechism teachers are recruited from within the parishes, among whom, the co-ordinators of each parish work with the Parish Priest to look after the administrative activities and the maintaining of records, etc. A programme, "Catechism Education for the Catechist" imparts valuable knowledge and formation to catechists and others on a regular basis.
The Vicariate is proud to have the MUSIC MINISTRY which comprises of 15 choirs that glorify the Lord at liturgical and parish celebrations. Some of the choirs have grouped themselves according to their regional communities and languages.
The Kuwait Chapter of the COUPLES FOR CHRIST was started in December 1998. CFC is a family ministry which raises up Christian couples and establishes Christian families committed to the work of evangelization. A renewal program is made available to parishes and groups of married couples who wish to live out their Christian life in an active, supportive relationship with one another. Kuwait is the 55th country in the world to have the CFC movement.
We are grateful to the large team of PASTORAL HELPERSwho assist regularly in the ushering at Masses, taking up collections, and the organizing of various programmes in the parishes.
Since 1998, we established a CATHOLIC RESOURCE CENTRE inside the Cathedral Complex to sell religious books and articles to our faithful, imported through 'Book House Company' which has an import license for the same.
In October 2004, the CHRISTIAN CHURCHES FELLOWSHIP IN KUWAIT was officially restarted, following the approved official "constitution" by the member Churches regarding its structure and operation. The Pastors (Representatives) of Churches present in Kuwait come together as the need or occasion demands, besides holding a prayer service for Church Unity once a year (in English and in Arabic). A committee has been set up to officially serve as a liaison body with the Government and Ministries.
As one can see, the Church in Kuwait has resourceful ministries to meet the diverse spiritual needs of the faithful. Yet all of this would not have been possible without the co-operation, tolerance and benevolence of the Rulers of Kuwait and the Government. We express our sincere and deep thankfulness to our beloved Amir for his expressions of goodwill to us. We shall continue to pray for his long life, prosperity and happiness ...