Pope Francis bids farewell to Bahrain
By Deborah Castellano Lubov
Pope Francis has concluded his Apostolic Journey to the Kingdom of Bahrain, marking his 39th Apostolic Journey abroad, his second to the Middle-Eastern Gulf region, and the 58th country he has visited as Pope.
The Holy Father flew out of Bahrain on a Gulf Air Boeing 787 aircraft shortly after 11 AM Rome time and is expected to land, in Rome, around 4:45 PM local time.
The Pope made the Journey to the Muslim-majority island nation after accepting the invitation to visit the country extended by the King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and by the local Church, on the occasion of an interfaith forum.
During the visit, the Pope participated in The Bahrain Forum for Dialogue and brought his closeness to the country's small and diverse Catholic flock.
At The Bahrain Dialogue Forum, Pope Francis called on fellow religious leaders to recognize their immense responsibility, and 'duty,' to help a suffering humanity, especially through promoting peace and condemning those who use the name of God to perpetrate violence.
At this time of war, the Pope made strong appeals for peace, especially in Ukraine, Ethiopia and in Yemen, to end rearmament, and for human rights, especially for religious freedom, the recognition of the rights and dignity of women, children and citizenship.
The Holy Father gave great encouragement to the country's local Church, including celebrating Mass for some 30,000 faithful from 111 countries, where he spoke of love, and stressed that the spiral of violence plaguing the world can end by always loving everyone.
The Pope also invited Bahrain's clergy and religious to preserve their God-given joy, to spread it everywhere, and to remember that with God, they can face and overcome anything.