The historic Papal mass takes place in Abu Dhabi this week and here’s everything you need to know.
Pope Francis, head of the Catholic Church, arrives in the UAE on Sunday (3rd February). Around 120,000 are expected to see the 82-year-old Argentine lead a mass at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday (5th February).
Only ticket holders can enter the open-air event and there’s a ban on cars going into Zayed Sports City. Those travelling from neighbouring Dubai or elsewhere must leave their cars at the Yas Gateway access hub. Anyone who has a ticket will also be given a holiday for the day, the UAE’s Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation has declared.
Visitors should allow plenty of time to travel to the UAE capital. Some are planning to leave Dubai 11 hours before the mass, which starts at 10.30am on Tuesday (5th February).
If you haven’t picked up your tickets yet, they must be collected at St Mary’s Church Dubai or St Joseph’s Cathedral Abu Dhabi by Monday (4th February).
“The faithful should arrange their own travel to the assigned Access Hub,” the organisers said on the event website. “They should leave their homes early, and arrive at the Access Hub early to guarantee a seat on the buses. Faithfuls should bring both tickets – no ticket, no travel.”
During his visit, Pope Francis will also join religious leaders of various faiths in Abu Dhabi for The Global Conference of Human Fraternity.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has welcomed the first Papal visit to the UAE.
“We, as UAE leadership and people, are looking forward to this historic visit that will contribute to underpinning the values of tolerance, peaceful co-existence, and cultural exchange,” he says.
“Over five decades since its establishment, the UAE has been promoting the values of tolerance, acceptance, freedom of religion, and respect for others.”
It’s estimated there are more than half-a-million Catholics in Dubai and more in the wider UAE. For those who don’t have tickets, there’ll be online streaming of the Papal mass at www.uaepapalvisit.org
Follow @AbuDhabiWorld on social media for updates on the Papal visit.