Everything you need to know about Pope Francis' visit to the UAE
A schedule of events has already been released by the Vatican…
Pope Francis is set to visit the UAE this year for a landmark, three-day visit which will take place from February 3 to 5. It will be the first time a Pope has ever come to the UAE.
The visit coincides with the UAE’s celebration of the Year of Tolerance, which was declared by H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president of the UAE in December 2018.
With Khalifa’s announcement of 2019 as the Year of Tolerance, we recall the great heritage that Sheikh Zayed founded on tolerance and today characterises UAE’s diverse society. The world today needs universal human values to be promoted for the sake of future generations.
— محمد بن زايد (@MohamedBinZayed) December 15, 2018
The Pope’s iconic visit to the UAE comes after an invitation was extended by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, during his visit to the Vatican in 2016.
So, what will Pope Francis be doing while he’s here? Well, a three-day schedule has already been released for the monumental visit.
Pope Francis is scheduled to arrive at the Abu Dhabi Presidential Airport on February 3, and will be greeted by Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, along with key UAE dignitaries.
On February 4, there will be a welcome ceremony at the main entrance of the Presidential Palace, followed by an official visit to the Crown Prince at the Palace.
On the same day, the Pope will also visit the Grand Mosque and will attend a private meeting with members of the Muslim Council of Elders, after which the International Interfaith Meeting, the primary cause for the Pope’s visit to the UAE, will take place at the Founder’s Memorial.
At the International Interfaith meeting, Pope Francis will also be presented with a copy of Celebrating Tolerance written by the Reverend Andy Thompson, MBE. The book is the first of its kind to be published to coincide with the Year of Tolerance, and features a foreword from HE Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, UAE Minister of Tolerance. It will be presented to Pope Francis by Sheikh Nahayan.
On February 5, the Pope will pay a private visit to the Cathedral in Abu Dhabi followed by the Holy Mass at Zayed Sports City Stadium. A farewell ceremony will be held at the Abu Dhabi Presidential Airport, after which the Pope will depart back to Rome.
The Papal mass is the most awaited event from the three days of the Pope’s visit to the UAE, which is home to nearly a million Catholics all eager for a chance to catch a glimpse of the bishop of Rome.
However, to secure a spot at the mass at Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi on February 5, you need to have a ticket.
So, how does one snag a ticket to the event this February?
Well, an estimated 120,000 will be able to witness the mass in person, which means there is a chance of being able to score the golden ticket to the much awaited Papal mass.
While most spaces will be reserved for Catholics, the mass will also be attended by several government officials.
Tickets are also being distributed to several churches in the UAE, who will be allocating the tickets to different groups and communities within their own parish.
If you miss out on a ticket however, the event will be live streamed and broadcasted in churches across country, the papal visit website as well as on the Vatican’s YouTube channel.