Pope Francis is visiting the UAE, and here's everything you should know
- 31 January 2019
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A pope is making a trip to the UAE for the first time ever.
Pope Francis is set to pay a three-day visit to the UAE, from February 3 to 5. The visit follows an invitation by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, during his visit to the Vatican in 2016, and it will coincide with the nation’s celebration of the Year of Tolerance.
When he arrives at the Abu Dhabi presidential airport on February 3, he will be greeted by the Prince along with several other dignitaries.
In a video message released by the Vatican, the Pope referred to the UAE as a “country where so many people find a safe place to live and work with freedom that respects differences.” He said he was “delighted to be meeting with a people who live out their present and look forward to the future.”
On February 4, Pope Francis will visit the Prince at the palace, followed by the Grand Mosque, and he will attend a private meeting with members of the Muslim Council of Elders. On the same day, he will attend the main event in Abu Dhabi for which he was invited, a dialogue of religions titled “Human Fraternity”.
The most anticipated event of the three-day visit is the papal mass at Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi on February 5. Churches in the UAE will distribute tickets for this mass.
Almost 135,000 people are expected to visit Zayed Sports City to see Pope Francis in possibly the biggest crowd to have ever gathered in the UAE. For those who cannot attend, the event will be livestreamed in churches in the UAE, on the Vatican’s YouTube Channel and on the papal visit website.
The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation has announced that February 5 will be a holiday for private-sector employees holding permits to participate in the papal mass.
Pope Francis will return to Rome after a farewell ceremony at the Abu Dhabi Presidential Airport.
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