By Robin Gomes
The Etihad Airways flight carrying Pope Francis from Abu Dhabi at the end of his Feb. 3-5 apostolic visit to the UAE, landed ahead of schedule at Rome’s Ciampino airport Tuesday evening.
As is already a tradition with him after every apostolic visit outside Italy, he paid a visit to the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome before heading to the Vatican.
He briefly prayed before the icon of the Madonna Salus Populi Romani thanking Our Lady for the apostolic visit. He does so also before every foreign visit.
The theme of the 2-day visit was the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, “Make Me a Channel of Your Peace”.
After landing in Abu Dhabi, Sunday night, the Pope’s first full day, Monday, was dedicated to
Tuesday, day 2, was dedicated to the Catholics living in the UAE. He visited Abu Dhabi’s St. Joseph’s Catholic Cathedral and celebrated Holy Mass at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City in the presence of some 180,000 people.
Pope Francis was seen off at a farewell ceremony at the presidential airport of Abu Dhabi, with about thirty UAE government authorities in attendance.