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Bahrain’s Catholics join Lenten blood donation campaign

'Drops of Life' sought to raise awareness on importance of blood donations, says Catholic group Jesus Youth
Catholics participate in an open-air Mass presided by Pope Francis on Nov. 5, 2022, during his visit to Bahrain.

Catholics participate in an open-air Mass presided by Pope Francis on Nov. 5, 2022, during his visit to Bahrain. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Published: February 27, 2024 11:34 AM GMT
Updated: February 27, 2024 11:56 AM GMT

About 200 Catholics in Muslim-majority Bahrain have donated blood as part of a Lenten campaign aimed at increasing awareness of the importance of blood donation, says a report.

The blood donation campaign titled "Drops of Life" held on Feb. 23 was organized by Catholic group, Jesus Youth, in the capital Manama, Vatican’s Fides news agency reported on Feb. 26.

An unnamed organizer from the group told Fides that the event was well received by the local community.

"The volunteers worked tirelessly to organize the event spreading the importance of blood donation and encouraging people to participate,” the organizer said.

“The local hospital also expressed its gratitude for the generous initiative," the organizer said without naming the hospital.

The campaign was held at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Manama which falls under the jurisdiction of the Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia.

The parish priest Father Francis Joseph Padavupurackkal and some 200 other registered parishioners donated their blood for the campaign.

Volunteers and supporters also helped the Jesus Youth team to organize the blood donation campaign.

Jesus Youth is an international charismatic association recognized by the Vatican that traces back its origins to Kerala, India.

The group was formed in 1985, the International Year of Youth, when several campus groups came together for a conference called "Jesus Youth." The group has identified itself as Jesus Youth ever since.

The Vatican recognized the group as an “International Private Association of Christian Faithful of Pontifical Right” on May 20, 2016.

Such public association of the faithful is defined as a group of baptized persons, clerics, or laity or both together jointly fostering a more perfect life or promoting public worship or Christian teaching, or who devote themselves to other works of the apostolate, according to the Vatican.

According to the latest data on Bahrain’s health ministry website, an average of 70 blood donation camps are organized every year with the support and cooperation of various organizations and societies in the country. 

Around 11,000 units (350 ml per unit) of blood is processed annually in Bahrain, the health ministry said.

About 15 percent of the estimated 1.46 million people in Bahrain are Christians, Vatican News reported ahead of Pope Francis’s historic visit to the Gulf nation in 2022.

Most of the nation’s estimated 80,000 Catholics are migrants from various countries including Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Palestine, and Jordan, but also from Sri Lanka, India, the Philippines, and Western nations, the report stated.

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