DOHA, Qatar, March 14 (UPI) -- The first Christian church in Qatar is trying to keep a low profile, with no bell, steeple or sign to announce that it is a Roman Catholic place of worship.
Our Lady of the Rosary has a huge potential congregation, The Times of London reports. The Vatican estimates that there are 100,000 Catholics in Qatar, most of them migrant workers from the Philippines. About 700,000 of the 900,000 residents of Qatar are immigrants.
The church is to be consecrated this weekend.
Christians in Qatar had to worship secretly until the government authorized the building of churches seven years ago. Saudi Arabia is now the only Muslim country that bans churches.
The Rev. Tom Veneracion told The Times he doesn't expect any problems.
"We tried to be discreet and I think there's an atmosphere generally in the Gulf that's fairly anti-Christian, but that's mainly to do with what's happening in Iraq and Afghanistan," he said. "It has nothing to do with us at all."
The building, 15 minutes outside Doha, was built at a cost of about $15 million. It has no bell or steeple to advertise its function, The Times said.