By Vatican News
Pope Francis will be in Abu Dhabi for a two-day apostolic journey to the United Arab Emirates from 3 to 5 February next year, becoming the first Pope ever to visit the Arabian Peninsula. The visit is taking place within the context of the “International Interfaith Meeting on Human Fraternity”, and is the result of combined invitations from the Catholic Church in the UAE and the Crown Prince, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Make me an instrument of your peace
In an open letter, the Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia (UAE, Oman, and Yemen), Bishop Paul Hinder OFM Cap, comments on the announcement of the papal visit.
“We welcome Pope Francis with open hearts”, he writes, and we pray with the words of St Francis of Assisi, which have been chosen as the theme of the visit: “Make me an instrument of your peace”.
An opportunity for dialogue
Bishop Hinder’s letter continues by expressing the hope that the Pope’s visit will be “an important step in the dialogue between Muslims and Christians and contribute to mutual understanding and peace-making in the region of the Middle East”.
He says he wishes the visit may be “a moment of deepening our faith and our adherence to the Bishop of Rome” and asks for prayers that it may be “a spiritual event”.
Organization and collaboration
The Apostolic Vicar thanks the authorities of the United Arab Emirates “for their generosity” in making the visit possible, and for providing a venue for the Pope to celebrate Mass on February 5th.
The official website will soon be online with organizational instructions, program details, and information updates, at www.uaepapalvisit.org