Pope’s historic visit to the United Arab Emirates confirmed
The Press Office of the Holy See announced the official program of the Pope’s trip to the United Arab Emirates from 3 to 5 February 2019.
Central moments of the visit are: the inter-religious meeting, the official visit to the Crown Prince, the meeting in the Great Mosque of the Sheikh Zayed and Mass in Abu Dhabi. The Pope will leave the Vatican City bound to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday February 3 at 1.00pm. The arrival at the Abu Dhabi presidential airport is scheduled for 10pm.
On Monday, February 4, at 12.00 am, a welcome ceremony is scheduled at the entrance to the Presidential Palace and an official visit to the Crown Prince. At 5.00 pm the private meeting with the members of the Muslim Council of Elders in the Grand Mosque of Sheikh Zayed is scheduled, and at 6.10pm the interreligious meeting in the Founder’s Memorial, where the Pope will give a speech.
On Tuesday, February 5, at 9.15 am, Francis will visit the cathedral of Abu Dhabi and at 10.30 will celebrate Mass in the Zayed Sports City where he will hold the homily. At 12.40 the farewell ceremony will be held at the Abu Dhabi presidential airport. At 1.00 pm the departure is scheduled. The arrival in Rome is scheduled at 5.00 pm at the Rome-Ciampino international airport.
“The Pope in the United Arab Emirates is a historic step. The first visit of Pope Francis to the Arabian Peninsula is a key moment for dialogue between Christians and Muslims,” Bishop Paul Hinder, apostolic vicar of Southern Arabia, who includes the United Arab Emirates, Oman, said.
“We welcome the Pope with an open heart and pray with the words of St. Francis of Assisi: “Lord, make us an instrument of your peace.” We hope that the apostolic visit is an important step on the path of dialogue between Muslims and Christians and contributes to mutual understanding and peace in the Middle East ”