Tue 05-02-2019 12:07 PM
ABU DHABI, 5th February, 2019 (WAM) — Following the Holy Mass held at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium this morning by His Holiness Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church, the Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia, Bishop Paul Hinder, delivered a word of thanks to the Pontiff before his final blessing, saying, “I thank your Holiness for your visit. It shows your pastoral care for this Church composed by migrants coming from around the whole world.”
Bishop Paul Hinder, who also heads Abu Dhabi’s St. Joseph’s Catholic Cathedral, added, “800 years ago, Saint Francis of Assisi met with Sultan Malik Al Kamil in Egypt. It was a meeting of mutual respect. In a similar way you have come to a Muslim country with the intention to do as Saint Francis did in the year 1219. We Christians try to implement the order Saint Francis gave at his time to his brothers and to ‘live spiritually among the Muslims… not to engage in arguments and (simply) to acknowledge that (we) are Christians’.”
The Vicar went on to thank the UAE authorities, especially His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, “who generously have made possible this visit and given us this space in order to have a public Mass with as many faithful as possible.”
He continued by thanking all the people from the church and all those living in the UAE who have worked hard to make this celebration possible.
“Finally, I wish to thank all those who have come to celebrate with us – Patriarchs, Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, Religious, Women and Men from near and far – not to forget those who followed us throughout the world on the screen,” he said.
“Holy Father, as we are coming to the end of a historic moment, I am asking you to give us your apostolic blessing. We wish you and your entourage a safe trip back to Rome,” he concluded.
WAM/Ibrahim Shukralla/Rasha Abubaker