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The Latest: Pope leads faithful in prayer in UAE church


The Latest on Pope Francis‘ historic visit to the United Arab Emirates (all times local):

9:20 a.m.

Pope Francis has led the faithful at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in prayer before celebrating Mass in Abu Dhabi.

He hugged and kissed children, laying his hands on several in wheelchairs.

In brief remarks in Italian, he thanked the faithful for meeting with him.

Pope Francis said: “Thank you very much for coming here and welcoming me. It’s a great joy for me to visit the small churches that are spread all over the place.”


9:10 a.m.

Pope Francis has arrived at a Roman Catholic church in Abu Dhabi for a visit before celebrating Mass.

The pope arrived at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in the capital of the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday morning and was greeted outside by a cheering youth choir wearing red-and-white robes.

He arrived in a simple Kia hatchback and waved at those waiting.

Some shouted: “Viva el Papa!” Others reached over rails to shake his hands.

Inside, the faithful filled pews and looked on at Francis.

This is the first papal trip ever to the Arabian Peninsula, the birthplace of Islam.


8 a.m.

Pope Francis is turning his attention to the thriving Catholic community in the United Arab Emirates as he concludes his historic visit to the Arabian Peninsula.

A day after making a broad appeal for Christian and Muslim leaders to work together to promote peace and reject war, Francis visits a cathedral in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday and then celebrates Mass in the Zayed Sports City Stadium.

It is being billed as the largest show of public Christian worship on the peninsula.

Francis is on the first-ever papal visit to the Arabian Peninsula, the birthplace of Islam. On Monday, he met with Emirati leaders and signed a document promoting “human fraternity” with Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, the grand imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar, the revered 1,000-year-old seat of Sunni learning.

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