Italian ex-pat in Bahrain: Pope's visit promotes interreligious harmony

Loredana Mantello, an Italian photographer who has been living in Bahrain for the last 18 years, says the Pope’s visit is an emotional moment for the Catholic community living in the country and reflects on how different religions can peacefully coexist as brothers and sisters.

By Vatican News staff reporter

In an interview with Vatican News’ Devin Watkins, Ms. Loredana Mantello, an Italian photographer who has been living in Bahrain for eighteen years, shares her thoughts on the meaning of the Pope’s visit to the country.

Despite being a foreigner, Ms.Mantello said she views Bahrain as “her home,” and says she feels very welcome in the country: “My love for Bahrain is shown in every single moment,” she said.

A country ‘open to all religions'

As this is Pope Francis’ first visit to the country, Ms. Mantello said the visit is very “emotional” for her and her community.

The visit demonstrates how open the country is to all religions, Ms. Mantello continued, underscored by the king’s donation of land to build the Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Arabia.

The church and mosque in Manama, the capital, she noted, are also physically very close together; “when you go visit the church, you see the mosque,” she noted, making it feel that “we are all brothers.”

A visit of dialogue and encounter

Pope Francis will be in Bahrain from 3-6 November: it is his 39th Apostolic Journey abroad and his 58th country visited as Pope.

The visit will centre on the themes of “encounter” and "encouragement" for Catholics in the region.

Pope Francis will also attend the closing ceremony of the first-ever “Bahrain Forum for Dialogue: East and West for Human Coexistence”, which will see around 200 interfaith leaders gathered to promote fraternity.

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03 November 2022, 11:39