Pope Francis will be the first pope to visit the Arabian Peninsula when he flies to Abu Dhabi, UAE for an international ‘inter-faith’ meeting from February 3 to 5, as shared in a report by the Khaleej Times.
The Vatican received an invitation for the pontiff from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and the local Catholic church.
يسعدنا في دولة الإمارات الترحيب بزيارة قداسة البابا فرنسيس بابا الفاتيكان، الذي يعد رمزا عالميا من رموز السلام والتسامح وتعزيز روابط الأخوة الإنسانية. نتطلع إلى زيارة تاريخية، ننشد عبرها تعظيم فرص الحوار والتعايش السلمي بين الشعوب.. ازدهار السلام غاية تتحقق بالتآلف وتقبل اﻵخر. pic.twitter.com/7qiBhEhqI7
— محمد بن زايد (@MohamedBinZayed) December 6, 2018
Pope Francis Set to Visit Abu Dhabi for ‘Inter-faith’ Meeting on February 2019
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, took the news to Twitter, confirming the pontiff’s visit the country next year. According to Sheikh Mohammed, the visit will reinforce connections and understanding of each other, facilitate ‘inter-faith’ dialogue and help both parties maintain and build peace among the nations of the world.
The Vatican shared that the theme for the meeting is encompassed by the phrase “make me a channel of your peace,” a quote from Saint Francis of Assisi, from which the pope’s name was derived.
The hope for the meeting is to “spread in a special way the peace of God within the hearts of all people of good will.”
Vatican spokesman Greg Burke cited the pope’s visit in the Arab world as a perfect example of the culture of encounter.
Regarding this development, Bishop Paul Hinder of the Arabian Vicariate of Southern Arabia (UAE, Oman and Yemen) expressed his gratitude to the UAE government for working out the meeting and for making the visit possible.
He also urged the Christian community and the Catholic faithfuls to respect and observe the instructions of the special team that will handle the pope’s visit to ensure that everything goes smoothly and according to plan.
The UAE takes pride in its religious tolerance as well as cultural diversity. The UAE trip will come ahead of the pope’s visit in Morocco in March of next year.
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