Abu Dhabi [UAE], Feb 5 (DKODING): Pope Francis became the first pontiff to deliver a mass in the Arabian Peninsula, where he addressed a gathering of around 1,35,000 people at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
The Pope is on a historic three-day visit to the Gulf nation, as part of his outreach to Muslims.
The papal mass ceremony began as a large crucifix, which is a rare sight in a Gulf country, emerged above the makeshift steeple. Pope Francis made his way to the stadium in his specially designed “popemobile.”
Pope Francis’ plane landed in Abu Dhabi airport on Sunday and an official delegation welcomed the pontiff. He kicked off his official engagements on Monday, arriving at the city’s lavish presidential palace in a Kia Soul, a small black car.
Upon arrival, he was accorded a ceremonial welcome with artillery salute and aircraft leaving a yellow and white smoke through the sky, which are the colours of the Vatican flag.
Delivering his first public speech in the region at the Founder’s Memorial comprising Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders, Pope Francis mentioned the ongoing conflicts in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Libya, saying that everyone should reject war and violence.
He also invoked the recent sexual abuses that have been taking place in the Catholic Church in recent years.
During the visit, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan gifted the pontiff the act of notary that dates back to June 22, 1963, for a donation of land to build the first church in the UAE. – ANI