John Allen, an excellent reporter on church issues, has left the National Cath Repoter (a left wing paper) for the WaPo/BostonGlobe, and has their story in today's paper:
the Arabian Peninsula today is also, improbably, seeing one of the most dramatic Catholic growth rates anywhere in the world. The expansion is being driven not by Arab converts, but by foreign ex-pats whom the region increasingly relies on for manual labor and domestic service.
Filipinos, Indians, Sri Lankans, Pakistanis, Koreans, and members of other nationalities are becoming the new working poor in some of the world’s wealthiest societies.
The result is a Catholic population on the peninsula estimated at around 2.5 million. Kuwait and Qatar are home to between 350,000 and 400,000 Catholics, Bahrain has about 140,000, and Saudi Arabia itself has 1.5 million.
Despite the triple handicaps of being poor, lacking citizenship rights, and belonging to a religious minority often viewed with suspicion, these folks are trying to put down roots for the faith, and having some surprising success.
read the whole thing.
Why is this important? because these places would fall apart without them.
and although most of the Catholics will "preach...use words if you need to", I found it interesting that a local Protestant group held a workshop to teach those planning to work overseas on how to spread their faith.