On the final day of his historic visit to the Arabian Peninsula, Pope Francis is to hold the first Mass by a pope in the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday February 5th, AP reports.
The Mass, held in Zayed Sports City Stadium, is considered as the largest act of public Christian worship on the peninsula, and the first-ever papal Mass in the UAE. It has drawn some 135,000 faithful to see Francis on the first-ever papal visit to the Arabian Peninsula, the birthplace of Islam.
The Catholic Church estimates as many as 1 million of the over 9 million people living in the UAE are Catholic, nearly all of them foreigners drawn to the oil-rich federation to work in different fields.
The Mass comes a day after Pope Francis, the first pontiff to set foot on the Arab Peninsula, signed a document promoting "human fraternity" with Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, the grand Imam of Egypt's Al-Azhar, urging both Christian and Muslim leaders all over the world to promote peace and reject war.
“There is no alternative: We will either build the future together or there will not be a future," Francis told Abu Dhabi's powerful crown prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and hundreds of imams, muftis, ministers, and rabbis gathered in the Emirati capital.