Pope Francis held a historic public mass for an estimated 170,000 people at a stadium in the capital of the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday, capping the first ever papal visit to the Gulf.
The pontiff waved at the enthusiastic crowd carrying yellow Vatican flags and banners as he rode in an open-top Popemobile into Zayed Sports City Stadium, where an altar with a large cross was set up for the unprecedented open-air service in a country that normally restricts worship to inside churches.
During the mass the Pope spoke in Italian and English. The congregation prayed for migrant workers and their families and for the ending of wars.
And the ceremony ended with a prayer, a huge round of applause from the crowd and organ music.
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 UAE invited the pope to visit as part of its 2019 “Year of Tolerance” which has its own designated ministry.
The Pope arrived for his historic three-day trip to the Arabian Peninsula on Sunday, at the invitation of Abu Dhabi’s crown prince.
He has used the visit to condemn regional wars, including in Yemen, where the UAE makes up part of a Saudi-led military coalition.
Published on 5 February 2019 With inputs from Telegraph.co.uk & Express.co.uk