Bishop Camillo Ballin marks 50th anniversary of ordination

Bishop Camillo Ballin, Apostolic Vicar of Northern Arabia, will mark the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood with a special mass at 6pm at the Holy Family Cathedral in Kuwait today. It will be a great honor for the faithful in Kuwait to participate in celebrating the Golden Jubilee of Bishop Ballin’s ordination.

Bishop Ballin, was born to Lucia and Angelo Ballin in Fontaniva, Italy on 24 June, 1944. As a young man, he considered pursuing a doctor’s degree, however, after a neighbor in his village passed away, he realized his greater calling was to be part of the priesthood, and to be near the needy regardless of any circumstances.

He made his first religious profession (Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus) in 1965 and his perpetual profession in September, 1968 before being ordained Priest of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus on 30 March, 1969 at Castelleto sul Garda, Verona.

Following his ordination, he learned Arabic in Lebanon and Syria and started his priestly apostolate in the Latin parish of St. Joseph, Zamalek, Cairo in 1971. Devotion and dedication to the Church and its activities, as well as 35 years of experience in doing the Church’s work in Egypt, Lebanon and Sudan, saw Monsignor Ballin appointed by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI as (Fourth) Vicar Apostolic of Kuwait and assigned the Titular See of Arna in July 2005.

Monsignor Ballin joined the vicariate and was consecrated Bishop by His Eminence Crescenzio Cardinal Sepe at the Holy Family Cathedral, Kuwait City on 2 September, 2005. Six years later, on 31 May, 2011, Bishop Ballin was appointed as the first Apostolic Vicar of Northern Arabia with the territories of Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia under his jurisdiction.

Speaking on marking the 50th anniversary of his ordination, Bishop Ballin expressed his gratitude to the Almighty, “It is because of the mercy of God I can celebrate 50 years of service to God. Throughout my life I have tried to follow God, to be a messenger of the love of God, and to oversee the ministry according to his will.

I have dedicated my life to making others happy, and through this journey, I have learned many things, including that there are many different kinds of people; the good, bad and weak. You have to encourage and support them. You have to be the sign of the love of God for all,” said the bishop.

In his capacity as the Apostolic Vicar of Northern Arabia, Bishop Ballin is constantly on the move across the four territories and considers the community in his vicariate to be welcoming and hospitable. “The faithful in Kuwait are just like in the other countries…very close with the priest fraternity,” he explained.

Touching on charitable endeavors by the community and the church, he said, “We have many associations in the vicariate that help people in all the countries under the Church’s supervision. The associations take care of the poor and undertake charitable endeavors when countries suffer calamities. “Recently, we helped raise funds for the victims of floods that ravaged the Indian state of Kerala, and for the disaster that befell the Philippines. We try to help as much as possible,” he said.

Elaborating on the cathedral being built in Bahrain, Bishop Ballin said it would play an integral part to the worship of the faithful in the region. “The Bahraini King granted us the land and we have been building the cathedral where people from various countries can gather to offer prayers and attend meetings. Divulging thoughts about his future work, he said, “I want to continue what I am doing to serve God and my congregation until I retire after another bishop is appointed. Even then, I will continue to be a missionary of God all my life.”

By STAFF REPORT