French missionary priest appointed Vicar Apostolic of Northern Arabia

French missionary priest appointed Vicar Apostolic of Northern Arabia

Father Aldo Berardi has been a missionary in Asia and Africa for years

Father Aldo Berardi was appointed Vicar Apostolic of North Arabia. (Photo: Apostolic Vicariate of North Arabia)

Published: January 30, 2023 09:26 GMT

Updated: January 30, 2023 09:34 GMT

Pope Francis has appointed French missionary priest Father Aldo Berardi, Vicar General of the Order of the Most Holy Trinity for the Salvation of Prisoners (OSST), as Vicar Apostolic of North Arabia to look after Catholics in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia .

Father Berardi, 60, was appointed on January 28 to succeed Bishop Camillo Bailin, who died on April 12, 2020, according to a bulletin from the Vatican Press Office.

After his appointment, Vicar Apostolic-elect Aldo Berardi expressed his joy and sent a message welcoming Catholics.

“Our church is a wonderful church: one in faith in Jesus Christ, in communion with the Father through the grace of the Holy Spirit. The diversity in our Vicariate is a blessing for the praise of the Holy Trinity. May the Lord keep this unity strong as a true witness in the Arabian Peninsula,” he said.

He also thanked Bishop Hinder, the Apostolic Administrator, calling him “a father to me.”

“His experience and wisdom are a lamp as I take my first steps,” he said.

Aldo Berardi was born on September 30, 1963 in Longeville-les-Metz, France. In 1979, while studying at the Lycée Georges de la Tour de Metz, he entered the Foyer-Séminaire of Montigny-les-Metz.

He studied philosophy at the Grand Séminaire di Villers-lès-Nancy and, after a missionary experience in Madagascar, entered the Order of the Most Holy Trinity for the Salvation of Prisoners in Cerfroid, France, where he made his first profession in 1987.

Aldo Berardi studied theology at the Grand Seminary of Montreal, Québéc, Canada from 1987 to 1990 and obtained a licentiate in moral theology from the Alphonsianum Academy in Rome in 1990.

He made his religious vows in Rome on December 17, 1990 and was ordained a priest on July 20, 1991 in Ars-sur-Moselle, France.

He served with Caritas in Rome (1990-1992) and as director of a reception, training and retreat center in Cerfroid, France, pastor and chaplain for Boy Scouts, Catholic Action and a psychiatric prison (1992-1998).

He continued his training in Psychiatry at Chrétiens en Santé Mentale in Paris, France (1995-1997) and studied Arabic and Islamology at the Dar Comboni School in Cairo, Egypt (1998-2000).

Father Berardi was Director of the Saint Bakhita Center for Sudanese Refugees in Cairo, Egypt (2000-2006) and Chaplain for Expatriates of the Apostolic Vicariate of Arabia in the Sacred Heart Parish in Bahrain (2007-2010).

In 2008 he obtained a degree in linguistics from the Open Arab University in Manama, Bahrain. From 2009 to 2012 he was a provincial councilor and then continued his training in practical theology at the Université Laval de Québéc, Canada (2012-2020).

Father Berardi was parish priest of Saint Arethas et Compagnons Martyrs in the Apostolic Vicariate of North Arabia (2011-2019) and has been Vicar General of his Order since 2019.

The seat of the Apostolic Vicariate of North Arabia has been vacant since the death of Bishop Camillo Ballin.

Bishop Paul Hinder, then Vicar Apostolic of South Arabia, was appointed Apostolic Administrator of North Arabia on May 13, 2020.

Almost all believers in the vicariate make up emigrants. Although there are no official figures, according to the Vicariate it is estimated that there are over 1 million Catholics in Saudi Arabia alone. Kuwait has about 350,000; Bahrain has about 80,000 and Qatar about 200,000 to 300,000 Catholics.

The believers are all migrant workers from a hundred nations, mostly from the Philippines and India. About eighty percent of the faithful belong to the Latin Rite, with the rest belonging to the Eastern Rite.

Latest news

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *