An invitation to Pope Francis by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan during his visit to the Vatican in 2016, and most recently fueled by the Catholic Church in the UAE will bear its fruits next month.
Pope Francis’ will visit Feb. 3-5, and many people across the UAE are readying themselves for his arrival and the proposed Papal Mass at the Zayed Sports City, which Paul Hinder, Catholic bishop for southern Arabia, said will take place on the morning of February 5.
News of the mass has a stirred up a lot of interest by locals wanting to attend and see the pontiff, especially among the Roman Catholic community living in the UAE. Around 120,000 people are expected to participate.
Entry to the Pope’s Abu Dhabi Public Mass will be restricted to entrants with tickets (free of charge), as the stadium has a limited capacity of seats. Therefore, act soon to get a ticket — “[a voucher] will be printed and handed over by the AVOSA Papal Visit Office and are expected to reach parishes around 20th January 2019.” Also, “majority of tickets will be for the Catholic faithful of the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia (AVOSA),” and the Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia (AVONA) while also reserved for Catholics; also several government officials plan on attending.
The Vatican has warned about possible fake tickets circulating for the papal mass. Participants are encouraged to only go through the AVOSA and AVONA parishes and authorized representatives. The parishes will then distribute tickets to various voucher holders.
Those unable to get a ticket can still view the papal mass via the live-stream at the official website www.uaepapalvisit.org, as well as on the Vatican’s YouTube channel.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see the Pope in-person. As worked out by the Vatican and the UAE Government, the UAE Papal Visit will be mostly done in private with the public ‘Holy Mass’ to be held at 10:30 AM.
Pope Francis’ full itinerary while in the UAE:
- Sunday, February 3,
1:00 PM – Departure by plane from Rome/Fiumicino to Abu Dhabi
10:00 PM – Arrival at the Abu Dhabi Presidential Airport
- Monday, February 4
12:00 PM – Welcome Ceremony at the main entrance of the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi
12:20 PM – Official Visit to the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince in the Presidential Palace
5:00 PM – Private meeting with the members of the Muslim Council of Elders at Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque
6:10 PM – Inter-religious Meeting at the Founder’s Memorial
Discourse of the Holy Father
- Tuesday, February 5
9:15 AM – Visit in private to the Cathedral
10:30 AM – Santa Messa in Zayed Sports City — Homily of the Holy Father
12:40 PM – Farewell Ceremony at the Abu Dhabi Presidential Airport
1:00 PM – Departure by plane to Rome/Fiumicino
A pontiff on the Arabian Peninsula marks a historical ‘spiritual’ event. As stated in the media, Pope Francis’ visit to Abu Dhabi coincides with the UAE’s celebration of the Year of Tolerance, which recalls the great heritage that Sheikh Zayed founded and today characterizes UAE’s diverse society. The Holy Father’s visit, in fact, comes at a time to establish a culture of tolerance, coherence and coexistence between sects and religions.