Pope Francis on Tuesday celebrated a historic mass with tens of thousands of people in the United Arab Emirates, the second day of the first-ever papal visit to the Gulf region.
According to the local Catholic Church, around 120,000 people attended the mass in and around a stadium in the Emirati capital, Abu Dhabi.
“The crowds included Catholics from 100 nationalities and 4,000 Muslims,’’ organisers said.
The mass, the largest-ever public Christian religious gathering on the Arabian Peninsula, comes one day after the pope called for religious freedom.
The UAE is an Islamic country, with migrants, mainly from Asia, making up the majority of the population. Report says the Vatican estimates that there are about 900,000 Catholics in the country. While Christians are free to practice their religion in the UAE, it is not the case for other countries in the Gulf, mainly Saudi Arabia, where it is not permitted to build churches.
The pope also condemned violence committed in the name of religion, and urged religious leaders to condemn all forms of violence without hesitation.
Pope Francis, addressing religious leaders from different faiths on Monday, also urged for an end to war, injustice and inequality. Francis also visited the Great Mosque, accompanied by Ahmed al-Tayyeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, the world’s foremost Sunni Islamic university.
Since you’re here …
… we have a small favour to ask. More people are readingNigerian Catholic Reporter than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. Nigerian Catholic Reporter’s independent, engagement journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because of our strong desire to use this platform to redirect the warped thinking of perceived citizens of God’s kingdom towards biblical injunctions and God’s desired culture for His people.
If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as N500, you can support Nigerian Catholic Reporter.
Support Nigerian Catholic Reporter:
All payments to be made to:
ECONOMIC NEWS ASSOCIATES LTD
(Publishers of Nigerian Catholic Reporter)
Bank: United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc
Account No: 1020298037