is Lordship Bishop Camillo Ballin is the first Apostolic Vicar of Northern Arabia. Bishop Camillo oversees the territories of Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Bishop Camillo Ballin was born on June 24, 1944, in Fontaniva, Padua, Italy. His parents were Lucia and Angelo Ballin. He made his first religious profession (Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus) in 1965 and his perpetual profession on September 9, 1968. He was ordained Priest of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus on March 30, 1969 at Castelleto sul Garda, Verona. After his ordination, in 1970, he learned Arabic in Lebanon and Syria.
Bishop Camillo started his priestly apostolate in the Latin parish of St. Joseph, Zamalek, Cairo in 1971. The following year, he was appointed Parish Priest (1972-1977). From 1977 to 1980, he was in Lebanon (Kaslik) and Rome (Pontificio Instituto Orientale) for his Licentiate in Oriental liturgy. From 1981 to 1990, he was professor at the Institute of Theology in Cairo and Delegation Superior and Provincial Superior of his religious congregation in Egypt. In 1990, he was assigned to the province of Sudan where he opened a Training Institute for the Formation of Religion Teachers in Schools (1990-1997). From 1997 till 2000, he was in Rome for his doctorate on the Church history of Sudan especially in the Mahdiyyah time (1881-1898 – during that period, practice of any other religion, except the Mahdist Islam, was strictly forbidden) His research was on how Christians and Jews lived in those years of persecution. In 2000, he was appointed Director of the Dar Comboni Center of Arab and Islamic Studies in Cairo, Egypt and Professor of Church History in the Inter-Rite Major Seminary.
Bishop Camillo has published two of his many written works in Arabic: “The Ways of the Spirit” and “History of the Church”. The first explores, in depth, the Rule of St. Pacomius as the founder of communitarian monastic life. His second publication is a treatise on the history of the Church from its inception to the 15th century, and, though meant for people at large, it is particularly aimed at explaining the life of the Church to the Arab world, with special reference to the Eastern Church.
On July 14, 2005, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI appointed him as (Fourth) Vicar Apostolic of Kuwait and assigned to him the Titular See of Arna. He joined the Vicariate on August 2, 2005. He was consecrated Bishop by His Eminence Crescenzio Cardinal Sepe at the Holy Family Cathedral, Kuwait City on September 2, 2005.
On May 31, 2011, His Lordship Bishop Camillo Ballin became the first Apostolic Vicar of Northern Arabia.
As evident from his motto: IN VERBO TUO, Bishop Camillo has embraced the challenges of missionary life, having totally entrusted himself to the Word of Jesus, “Master, on Your word I will throw the nets.” (Luke 5:5) Following in the footsteps of Saint Daniel Comboni, the founder of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus, he is particularly dedicated to bringing God’s love, peace and mercy to all.
FEATURES OF THE BISHOP’S COAT OF ARMS:
“Argent, on a fess Azure charged of a phoenix on its immortality Or flamed of Gules, the monogram “XP” between the letters “A” and “Ω” all of the fourth in chief, three wavy bars below a seven points star of the second in base “.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SYMBOLS ON THE SHIELD:
The symbols of Bishop Camillo’s Coat of Arms represent a rich religious and historical background and significance.
BASE OF THE SHIELD: The waves drawn “in base” of the shield are a reminder of the birthplace town of Bishop Ballin, Fontaniva (Fons Viva), in the lowland around Padua, which owes its name to the proximity of the river Brenta that at times gives rise to floods typical of that area.
In addition, the same symbol recalls the waters of the Persian Gulf, also represented in the Coat of Arms of the State of Kuwait, where Msgr. Ballin is sent for his new apostolic service to the people of God in this part of the world.
Over the waves, the star – “Stella Maris” – the Virgin Mary – Our Celestial Mother – who always points us to the living word, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Son of God.
CENTER OF THE SHIELD: On the central “fess” is drawn the Phoenix, the mythical bird, symbol of ancient Egypt and of the Arab world, generally, also known as the Arabian Phoenix. The legend, lost in time, tells how, every thousand years, this very beautiful bird rose again, more splendid and pure, from the ashes of its burning pyre. For the first Christians, it was a symbol of the Resurrection and birth to new life. It also represents the Arab region, where, until now, Bishop Ballin has exercised his missionary service in Egypt and Sudan.
CHIEF OF THE SHIELD: The above two, and also the future steps of the Bishop’s life, are always inspired and guided by the Lord, here represented in the “chief” of the shield by the monogram XP, the two first letters of the Greek word XPIΣTE (CHRIST), the Principal and the End, the Alpha and the Omega, symbolized by the two Greek letters “A” and “Ω” which flank the monogram.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE COLOURS ON THE SHIELD:
Red (Gules) of the monogram XP and the letters “A” and “Ω” symbolizes the “bleeding” Heart of Christ, burning with love for humanity – to which the Comboni family is particularly dedicated. It also represents the blood shed by the martyrs who gave their lives to bring the message of the Gospel to the world. Among these martyrs, many Comboni Fathers are numbered.
Blue (Azure) of the “fess” symbolizes the separation from worldly values and the ascent of the soul towards God – the sphere of celestial virtues which raise themselves from the things of the earth toward the sky.
Gold (Or), the most noble metal, represents the first Virtue: Faith. Only by this virtue can we comprehend the mystery of the Resurrection and rebirth to new life, concepts illustrated by the Phoenix, in the same colour.
Silver (Argent), is the symbol of transparency, therefore, of Truth and of Justice, the lodestars that determine our relations with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
MOTTO: “IN VERBO TUO”
The motto — IN VERBO TUO — is taken from the Gospel of Luke 5: 4-11.
In the challenges of missionary life, of which the Miraculous Fishing is a symbol, Peter totally entrusted himself to the Word of Jesus Who “said to Simon: – Put out into deep and let down your nets for a catch! – Simon replied: – Master, we worked the whole night without catching anything; but, on your word I’ll throw the nets! – And having done it, they caught an enormous amount of fish as to break the nets”.
Mission is based on abandonment to the Word of God, Jesus Christ, Who is constantly operative and effective: “As in fact the rain and the snow go down from the sky and they do not return without having irrigated the ground, without having fertilized it and made to bud…the same will happen to the Word gone out of My mouth: it will not return to Me without effect, without having operated what I desire and without having reached the purpose for which I sent it” (Is. 55: 10-11).