Last minute preparations at Bahrain National Stadium for Holy Mass presided over by Pope Francis Last minute preparations at Bahrain National Stadium for Holy Mass presided over by Pope Francis 

In Bahrain behind the scenes: broadcasting the Pope's message to the world

The broadcast director and main cameraman of many of the events that make up Pope Francis’ apostolic visit to Bahrain reveals his communications strategy as he brings the Pope, his message and spirituality, as well as the symbolic features of many events, to the eyes of the world.

By Devin Watkins and Linda Bordoni

Giovanni Luc Fraeyman is the broadcast director and main cameraman for the Papal Mass that takes place in Bahrain and for all the events in the Churches and in the Cathedral during the three-day apostolic journey.

On the eve of the Saturday morning Mass, Vatican Radio's Devin Watkins asked Fraeyman what images he hopes to capture and what kind of a vision he is aiming for as the event is beamed to the world.

Listen to the interview with Giovanni Luc Fraeyman

“I would like to catch the intimacy of the stadium,” the broadcast director explains, noting that although, of course, Bahrain National Stadium is large,  compared to the one where the Papal Mass in Abu Dhabi in 2019 took place, and he directed behind the camera lens, this set-up allows for a more “intimate” experience for the viewer.

“Here we have a lower stage, the people are closer to the event,” he says explaining that it allows him to give more integrity to the imagery broadcast.

An important message for the inhabitants of the region

Regarding the Pope’s presence in the Gulf, Fraeyman says “it’s a very important message that acknowledges the religion in the region.”

It is expressed, he continues, within the whole culture of tolerance that has grown throughout the region in the last couple of years.

“it is really great it is acknowledged and that there is a place and a moment to celebrate that.”

Although Fraeyman’s experience refers mainly to the UAE, he says that there has been a common focus on topics such as tolerance and openness to the world that has “created opportunities for people to find a home base for a long term in the region”.

There has been active effort of the Arab community and leadership, he added, from most of the different states.

“What I like about the whole event is the inclusiveness of bringing all the religions together.”

It is the acknowledgment, Fraeyman says, and it provides a platform for Catholics on which to express their faith. So “it’s a very important step towards the future, but also for people as individuals to see where their place is, and on a bigger scale, In the world.”

“The inclusiveness towards everyone and all different religions is a beautiful thing.”

04 November 2022, 18:00