Pope Francis to make historic visit to U.A.E.
December 6, 2018 | 7:27 PM
by Times News Service
File image of Pope Francis. Photo: Reuters/File

Abu Dhabi: The Vatican today announced that Pope Francis will make a three-day visit to the U.A.E. from February 3 – 5, 2019.

The visit is an acceptance of an invitation by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE's Armed Forces to participate in the Interfaith Meeting about “Human Fraternity”. In addition, the visit is also an answer to the invitation to Pope Francis by the Catholic Church in the U.A.E.

The pope will arrive on the evening of the February 3, 2019 and leave at midday of the February 5, 2019.

Bishop Paul Hinder of the Arabian Vicariate of Southern Arabia (UAE, Oman, and Yemen) said, "I express my gratitude to the U.A.E. government, which has made this visit possible. I urge the Christian community and our Catholic faithful that we respect and cooperate with the instructions of a special team, which is being put in place for the visit. The team will work closely with the government to ensure this visit goes smoothly and according to plan."

"The generosity of the U.A.E. government has also been extended in making it possible to celebrate a Mass, which will be on February 5 at a public venue in Abu Dhabi. These are warm and kind gestures that we appreciate and acknowledge."

The visit of Pope Francis also marks a first ever visit by a Catholic Pontiff to the Arabian Peninsula. The short visit will be momentous for all and especially for the Bishop of Rome, who is head of the college of all Bishops and the head of the Catholic Church.

"May the visit be an important step in the dialogue between Muslims and Christians and contribute to mutual understanding and peace-making in the Middle East," added Bishop Hinder.

A logo to mark the visit has also been unveiled by the Vicariate and this will be used on all official communication leading up to the Pope’s visit.

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