UAE gives pope pomp-filled welcome ceremony at visit’s start

Pope Francis celebrates a holy mass as part of the 23rd World Day for Consecrated Life

On Tuesday, Pope Francis will hold a Holy Mass at the Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi, which is expected to be attended by more than 135,000 people.

"It is my hope that you will be like this, rooted in Jesus and ready to do good to those around you".

The pope waved at an enthusiastic crowd carrying Vatican flags and banners as he drove into Zayed Sports City Stadium, where an altar with a large cross was set up for the unprecedented open-air service in a country where worship is normally allowed only inside churches. "But the Lord is faithful and does not abandon his people", he said.

Francis' speech to the gathering of faith leaders later in the evening is the highlight of his brief, 40-hour visit to Abu Dhabi, the first to the Arabian Peninsula by a pope.

Francis, who has made outreach to Muslim communities a cornerstone of his papacy, wrapped up his historic three-day visit with the mass.

The pope called for the "full recognition of the other and his or her freedom" in a meeting with Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the top Sunni Muslim cleric. Indeed, in his homily, he recalled the example of his namesake, Saint Francis of Assisi, who 800 years ago amid the Crusades urged Christians not to argue or be disagreeable with Arabs and Muslims.

The United Arab Emirates is deeply involved in the Saudi-led war in Yemen and faces widespread global criticism for airstrikes killing civilians and the creation of the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

The Filipino Times newspaper reported that the Mass saw a 120-member choir, composed mostly of Filipinos, with Filipina conductress Joy Santos spearheading the multi-cultural voices who sang hymns in English, Arabic, and Latin.

Maroon 5 Avoids Politics - and Entertainment - During Super Bowl Halftime Show
Scott, who is dating Kylie Jenner, performed his hit song " Sicko Mode " before falling backwards into the crowd. Spongebob won.by a landslide. " No one thought about it more than I did", he said about making the decision.

Message on a banana
The pair went to see how they're helping women to break free from street sex-work, addiction and other life-controlling issues. After the visit, Sam said: "For them to decide to come here is heartwarming and makes you think these women are not forgotten".

Rams vs Patriots: Over/under is best bet for Super Bowl 2019
With the line at New England -2.5, there's no reason to expect big swings in the public betting percentages as kickoff closes in. Who are the 53 players who will be trying to help Bill Belichick win his sixth Super Bowl? The 53rd Super Bowl is finally here.

Pope Francis' plane landed in Abu Dhabi airport on Sunday and an official delegation welcomed the pontiff.

The Catholic Church estimates as many as 1 million of the over 9 million living in the UAE are Catholic, almost all of them foreigners drawn to the oil-rich federation to work in everything from white-collar finance to construction. The UAE is deeply involved in the Saudi-led war in the Arab world's poorest country, where tens of thousands have been killed and millions face food and medical shortages.

It was a reference to the UAE's often-stated claims of tolerance - it has a minister for tolerance, is hosting the interfaith meeting Francis is attending and has declared 2019 to be its "Year of Tolerance".

"I am pleased with this meeting offered by the Lord to write, on your dear land, a new page in the history of relations among religions and confirm that we are brothers despite our differences", Francis said.

The UAE is home to about half of the 2 million expatriate Catholics living on the Arabian peninsula, home to the birthplace of Islam in neighbouring Saudi Arabia.

Pope Francis said he appreciates "the opportunity to come here as a believer for peace".

Despite making some reforms, the kafala (visa sponsorship) system continues to tie migrant workers to their employers - meaning those who leave their employer can face punishment for "absconding".

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, expressed his delight at hosting the Pope saying the visit will go a long way in creating stability in future.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top New York Prosecutors to Subpoena Trump Inauguration Committee for Documents
Feb 06, 2019 - 01:33
Federal prosecutors also want information about donations made directly to vendors and communications discussing that possibility. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said that the inaugural committee's operations did not involve President Trump himself.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Liverpool's Gomez may need surgery on broken leg: Klopp
Feb 05, 2019 - 01:58
Following Manchester City's impressive 3-1 win over Arsenal on Sunday, the Reds' lead atop the table is down to just two points. Gary added: "They're in a little bubble at the moment and they're not quite sure how to get out of it".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Irving gets cheers and a win at MSG as Celtics beat Knicks
Feb 05, 2019 - 01:58
Damyean Dotson scored 22 points and Kevin Knox had 21 for the hapless Knicks, who lost a team record 13th straight home game. He also went on to say that he doesn't owe anything to anybody, and that he plans to do what is best for his career.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Avengers: Endgame Super Bowl trailer - fans convinced major character edited OUT
Feb 05, 2019 - 01:31
Since Captain Marvel opens in theaters Friday, March 8, this could very well be the final trailer released for the film. We then hear Captain America's (Steve Rogers) voiceover that tells the rest to gear up to fight Thanos , the mad Titan.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Are Kylie Jenner & Travis Scott Expecting a Second Baby?
Feb 05, 2019 - 01:14
And on Sunday, Kylie Jenner shared video to her Instagram Stories of herself in full glam riding in the back of a vehicle . Kylie Jenner is used to dropping hints to her fans on social media and it seems she's doing more of the same.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top European Union nations support Venezuela's Guaido as anti-Maduro bloc grows
Feb 05, 2019 - 01:06
Those who continue to violate the human rights of ordinary Venezuelans under an illegitimate regime will be called to account. They meet after European nations this morning made a coordinated announcement to recognise rival Juan Guaido as leader.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Sanchez and Rashford start against Leicester, Martial on bench
Feb 04, 2019 - 02:02
Manchester United continue their unbeaten run under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after seeing past Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Super Bowl LIII on CBS
Feb 04, 2019 - 01:58
To this day, fans still can not believe coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell bypassed another Lynch run. It would also be the franchise's third title in the last five seasons.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top 5 things we learned - Unai Emery got it wrong
Feb 04, 2019 - 01:27
So you sort of scratch your head about it. "It's a shame that he's injured because I'd love to play with him, but I'm sure he'll be back soon".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top 'Important progress' made in trade talks with US: China
Feb 03, 2019 - 02:54
I think when President Xi and myself meet, every point will be agreed to", Trump said. The move prompted China to increase tariffs on Dollars 110 billion of American goods.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Intel: How McConnell is forcing Democrats to side with Trump on Syria
Feb 03, 2019 - 02:44
On Thursday, a majority from the US Senate voted in favour of Mr McConnell's amendment and in rebuking the White House policy. Kirsten Gillibrand had endorsed Trump's plan to withdraw troops from Afghanistan and Syria, reported The New York Times .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Nigeria’s Vice President survives as his helicopter crash lands
Feb 03, 2019 - 02:32
The VP has spent a lot of time on the campaign trail, focusing more on meeting the electorate in their homes and market stalls. Daily Trust learnt that the helicopter crash landed at about 1.30 pm while trying to make a landing at the Kabba Stadium.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top USA military intervention in Venezuela not imminent: Bolton
Feb 03, 2019 - 01:35
He said: "Power is evaporating from Maduro's hands with the passing of the hours". Russia, China, and Iran also support Maduro, as does Turkey.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Groundhog predicts an early spring. Don’t get too excited, he’s usually wrong
Feb 03, 2019 - 01:12
When German settlers arrived in the United States, they brought the tradition with them, swapping hedgehogs for groundhogs. Overall, the Post says, "Much like how you won your last coin toss, Phil is "right" in these regions because of chance".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Governor Northam Continues to Lose Key Support Saturday, Future in Doubt
Feb 03, 2019 - 00:45
The Democratic Party of Virginia said in a statement Saturday that Northam should step down immediately and be replaced by Lt. The Virginian-Pilot newspaper tweeted a picture of the page which it said it obtained from the medical school library.