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6 Catholic Churches in Oman

In an Arab country where the dominant religion is Muslim, it is often difficult to imagine for
Christianity to exist in such a place. Just like any other Muslim dominated countries like Saudi Arabia,
Iran, and Pakistan, Oman’s religious landscape can be characterized by Islamic practices and doctrines.
However, Christianity actually exists in Oman, particularly Catholicism. As of late, there are about
55,000 Catholics living in the country, majority of whom are immigrant workers or expats.

Catholic churches are managed under the system called The Catholic Church of Oman, which is also
under the direct leadership of the Vatican Church. The church has established an alliance with other
Catholic congregations in Yemen and UAE called the Vicariate Apostolic of Southern Arabia. As of the
moment, there are six Catholic churches in Oman and these are:

Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Muscat

Is a church situated in the city of Muscat, which is the largest and capital city of Oman. It is one of the
only two Catholic churches that can be found in the city, the other being the Church of Holy Spirit
located in Ghala. The land in which this church is built was donated by the Sultan of Oman following
policies of religious tolerance. Most of the churchgoers are expat workers who began to flock the
country in recent decades. Because of the increased numbers of worshippers in the church, it was
closed for expansion with the funds collected from its faithful members and was only re-opened in
1995.

St. Francis Xavier Church, Salalah

It is a Catholic church built in the town of Salalah. Its construction began in 1979 and was spearheaded
by Father Antonino Fortuna. The church was finished and opened to the public in 1981. Initially, the
building was designed to be small in dimension but because of the growing number of members, it
eventually expanded to cater more worshippers. Rites in the church are conducted in either Latin or
Roman.

St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Sohar

Located about 230 kilometers north of Muscat, the St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Sohar is one of
the most well-designed and well-developed Catholic churches outside Muscat. Its inauguration was led
by Archbishop Pablo Fuente in 1994 but its first mass was delivered in 1993 by Father Saracini. Then
Sultan Qaboos Bin Said donated the land on which the church in response to a petition by Bishop
Gremoli in 1989. The city was rapidly growing as an industrial hub and Father Gremoli found that it
was necessary that a place of worship for Catholic expat workers should be built.

The Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Ghala

One of the only two Catholic churches in the city of Muscat. The church is more convenient in terms of
transportation and proximity to other important spots. It is located in front of the American
International School. The church’s design is more modern as compared to the other churches in the
country perhaps because of the growing number of Westerners in the area.
Marthoma Church in Oman

The foundation of the church was actually preceded by the formation of a prayer group called Mar
Thoma Prayer group in the early 1970s. The group was originally composed of 17 Catholic priest
members under the supervision of Reverend Father Thomas, who long served as a vicar in a Dubai
parish church. Eventually, the group decided to construct a church that will be named after them.

Mar Gregorios Orthodox Maha Edavaka in Muscat

In the 1970s, Oman started to become an important economic hub in the Gulf region because of the
newly-found oil deposits in the area. The number of immigrants in the country rose significantly,
especially in the city of Muscat. The only sole Anglican service at the time was managed by the
American Mission but there was no fixed facility to cater worship services. Cut to chase, in 1972, the
church opened to the public, with the then vicar of Abu Dhabi, Reverend Father Jacob, as the first
parish priest.

The Catholic population in Oman is roughly around 2% of the country’s overall population; however,
the number of Catholic churches has started to increase by the decade and are spread throughout the
entire country. With more migrants and expat workers coming into Oman, it is expected that in the
coming years, the number of Catholic churches in Oman will also multiply in number.