For the first time, a Pope Head of the Roman Catholic Church landed in the United Arab Emirates. His visit marks a new beginning of a new working relationship between the UAE and Rome. The Pope’s journey begun with an invitation from His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and plans were set in motion for his two-day visit.
While in the UAE the Pope visit will begin with his visit to the Global Conference on Human Fraternity in Abu Dhabi after being received by the His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bina Zayed Al Nahyan. He will attend the conference together with other leaders. Upon his arrival at the presidential palace, he was welcomed with a 21 gun salute. On Tuesday the Pope led a mass at the Zayed Sports City Stadium where thousands of faithful’s made up the congregation having travelled from different cities in UAE. Before the start of his journey, many of the journalists accompanying him during the visit were baffled by the humility of Pope Francis. While in Rome he took half an hour talking and greeting every journalist who was to cover his tour in the UAE. Many didn’t expect much but were amazed by the humbleness and humility expressed to them by Pope Francis. His actions cemented his most talked about virtues of being humble.
Journey to the Stadium begun on Monday Night
For many, this was a great opportunity that they couldn’t miss at all. Many of the Catholics left their jobs tired. But with a little rest, they began their journey to Abu Dhabi to see the Pope but most importantly attend the mass at the Sheikh Zayed Sports City Stadium. The mass was attended by many from different backgrounds including Muslims. Some people travelled from Kuwait to celebrate a mass led by the Pope. Among the many people who attended the mass were Filipinos who work in the UAE. Roads near the stadium were closed early enough to ensure the people travelling to the stadium arrive safely.
Six Collection Points were set up
To be able to manage the mass movement of people for the mass, authorities had to work jointly with each other. At the forefront was the military who were manning areas filled with Catholics travelling and along the way also provide security. Besides the authorities, local transport agencies had to work hand in hand with the Transport Authority to ensure the mass attendees arrive safely at the stadium. In total there were six designated collection points but the largest of them all was Safa Park. At the latter collection point, 400 buses departed ferrying mass attendees to Sheikh Zayed Sports City Stadium. People were so many the restrooms available at Safa Park were not enough. But administrators of Medcare Hospital were helpful and allowed travellers to use their bathrooms. Although the doors to the stadiums were to be open at 5 am many made their journey early to avoid the traffic jam of both people and cars. Apart from the authorities having to contend with the high number of people local catholic branches organized for volunteers from their church. With the stadium only been able to seat a handful of the attendees, many had to contend with watching from surrounding areas. For those who weren’t able to get a glimpse of the Pope giant screens were placed strategically to enable them to follow on the proceeding and also see the Pope. Catholic churches also broadcasted the mass live in their churches for those who were not able to travel to the stadium. Emotions were high as many couldn’t hold back when the Pope arrived to lead the day’s mass.
The sermon was led by a huge choir consisting of 120 members with ululations and Catholic songs echoing across the whole stadium. The Pope arrived slowly while greeting and blessing some of the attendees as he walked to the podium to lead the mass. His sermon for the day revolved around the beatitudes. He called upon the congregation to upheld good virtues and be meek. The sermon touched the 135,000 worshipers who were present at the stadium and many more who followed the proceedings across the globe. His visit to the Gulf region is the first, but as he departed back to Rome, it’s like many more visits will follow. Some people even pointed out that he might visit Saudi Arabia soon. As the worshipers left for their respective homes, they were filled with the Pope’s message. Now it’s their time to practice the teachings of the Pope’s sermon in their day to day lives. Pope Francis is one of a kind Pope whose calls for peace love and unity have been echoed through his many visits to different countries. He is also fond of visiting prisoners serving time in jail.