| Introduction |
Encouragement of the Pope |
| Our Lady's Shrine and Devotions |
About the Novena |
| THE PERPETUAL NOVENA TO OUR LADY OF ARABIA |
| "Because they are not asked for .." |
To Perpetual Remembrance |
OUR LADY'S SHRINE AND DEVOTIONS
A church being planned by the Kuwait Oil Co. Ltd. for Ahmadi, instead of the shed used as a temporary chapel, the corner stone was provided from the ruins of the ancient church of the Carmelite Monastery at Aylesford (Kent, England). There in 1247, St. Simon Stock established the first house in the West for the Carmelite Monks who fled from their craddle in Mount Carmel (Palestine). At the disruption of monasteries in 1538 that house too was wrecked. From the ruins of the old church, dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady by St. Simon Stock, who had become, by then the Superior General of the Carmelite Order, was taken a stone in November 1952 and carried to Rome, where the Holy Father, Pope Pius XII blessed it on December 12th, to be used as a corner stone for the first Church of a Carmelite Mission in Arabia.
H.H. Pope Pius XII blessing the
Corner Stone on 12th December 1952
at the Vatican Palace in Rome.
On September 8th. 1955, Mgr. StelIa, then still a Bishop-elect, placed that stone in the foundations of the church of Our Lady of Arabia in Ahmadi, which he blessed, completed, on Easter Sunday, April 1st, 1956.
A month later, at the beginning of May devotions, with a great procession by torch-lights the venerated statue of Our Lady of Arabia was transferred from the old chapel to the new Church. Three Bishops joined in the procession.
Pope Pius XII showed once more his devotion to Our Lady of Arabia by presenting the shrine in Ahmadi with a big, decorated candle, chosen among those offered him at Candlemas in 1956.
The following year. granting the request of the new Vicar Apostolic of Kuwait, Pius XII, by a pontifical decree, dated 25th January, 1957, ‘‘Regnum Mariae’’ (beginning with the words: The Kingdom of Mary) declared Our Lady of Arabia the Principal Patron of the territory and Vicariate Apostolic of Kuwait.
The greatest triumph of Our Lady in this shrine of hers was reserved to the year 1960. To re—pay the debt of gratitude for the many favours granted, on the occasion of the lOth anniversary since the blessing of the statue, the Vicar Apostolic appealed to the faithful of Ahmadi for an extraordinary contribution each month during the year 1959, in order to procure a precious golden crown for the statue.
H.H. Pope John XXIII blessing the Crown
on 17th March, 1960.
Finely ciselled, over two pounds of pure gold of weight, adorned with diamonds and rubies and other precious stones - a large pearl of the Gulf was offered by the Bishop - the two precious crowns were offered to be blessed to the Holy Father Pope John XXIII on 17th March, 1960. By a letter sent through Card. Domenico Tardini, the Secretary of State, the Pope delegated His Em. Valerian Card. Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, to crown the statue of Our Lady of Arabia “in His name and by His authority.’’
The welcome extended to the Cardinal Legate on his reaching Kuwait has proved how enthusiastic the Catholics felt for the honour granted by the Pope. March 25th was the day chosen for the ceremony, the feast of Our Lady’s Annunciation. After the Mass in the morning at the shrine, offered by the Cardinal, who admitted over forty children to the First Communion, the crowning ceremony was performed in the large, paved square in front of the church at sunset. More than four thousand people were crowded in, when His Em. Cardinal Gracias, the Papal Legate, was escorted, under the canopy to the dais, where over an altar, the statue of Our Lady was held high over the crowd.
H.Em. Cardinal Gracias crowns the Statue
on the feast of the Annunciation.
After an eloquent sermon, having vested in pontifical, robes, His Eminence proceded to place the golden crown on the head of Child Jesus and on Our Lady’s. A thunderous, spontaneous clapping of hands marked the joy of all those present.
At the Holy Mass, that followed, over 700 Communions were distributed by three priests at a time.
The throne of Our Lady of Arabia in Ahmadi is now adorned with artistical paintings. St. Joseph, her Spouse, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and St. Maria Goretti, the second Patron of the ‘Men Sodality of our Lady of Arabia’ are represented on the Gospel’s side, while St. Elias the Prophet and St. Therese of Lisieux, the added Patrons of Ahmadi Church, together with St. Francis Xavier, Protector of the Missions and St. Pius X, the Patron of the "Ladies’ Sodality of the Bl. Virgin, Mother of God" are painted on the side of the Epistle.