Pope Francis’ Historic Visit to the UAE – Facts and Figures

UAE Human Fraternity Meeting 2019
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With over 135,000 people expected to attend the Papal’s historic visit to the UAE, here is some interesting information on the overall agenda, schedule of meetings, holy mass, and other trivia highlighting the United Arab Emirates’ openness to a multi-religious and multi-cultural society.

“Tolerance is duty, as the Creator Almighty forgives. We are all human beings; brothers, righteous ones and misled ones. We do not leave the misled or abandon them, instead, we help them find the right path” – The Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founding Father of the UAE

– His Holiness Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church and His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al Azhar Dr. Ahmed At-Tayyeb will visit the UAE from February 3 to 5. The visit will coincide with the Year of Tolerance that is being marked by the UAE in 2019.

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– The timing of His Holiness Pope Francis’s historic visit to the UAE to coincide with that of His Eminence Dr. Ahmed At-Tayyeb, emphasises the UAE’s position as a global capital for tolerance and humanitarianism as a global meeting point for people from all over the world.

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– The Pope’s visit is a historic first marking inaugural visit by the Head of the Catholic Church to the GCC. This reflects the important cultural and humanitarian role that the UAE plays in the promotion of important global values such as tolerance, dialogue, positive coexistence and human fraternity.

– The Pope’s visit will take place under the theme “Make me a Channel of Your Peace” and it represents the purpose of His Holiness Pope Francis’s visit; an invitation for collaboration between all those who seek peaceful dialogue and cooperation.

– The Pope’s visit will include a tour of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, a holy mass at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi and a meeting with the Muslim Council of Elders, which is headed by His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al Azhar. This meeting will take place on February 4th at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

– His Holiness Pope Francis and His Eminence Dr. Ahmed At-Tayyeb will reach Abu Dhabi on the evening of February 3. They will both be received officially, at the presidential palace on February 4 in the morning, by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE’s Armed Forces.

– The Pope will hold a Holy Mass at the Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi. It is anticipated that more than 135,000 people from the UAE and internationally are expected to attend the mass which will take place on February 5, 2019 at 10:30 am.

– More than 2000 buses will transport the public to the Holy Mass.

– The Pope will depart from Abu Dhabi to Rome and will be given an official send off at 12:45 pm on February 5, 2019.

– Official diplomatic relations between the UAE and the Vatican started in 2007.

– The first Christian association in the UAE was established in 1968.

– The first Catholic Church in the UAE was built in 1965.

– There are 76 churches and places of worship in the UAE.

– In June 2017, Abu Dhabi renamed one of its most prominent mosques from “Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Mosque” to “Maryam, Mother of Jesus Mosque”

– The UAE Government reinforces its commitment to tolerance and religious freedom by giving land for the construction of churches, places of worship and graveyards for other faiths.

– There are nearly 200 nationalities from different ethnic, religious and racial groups living harmoniously in the UAE.

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