Image Credit: Gulf News
By Maya Hariz
Over 180,000 people from all over the world attended the historic 90 minute Holy Mass in Abu Dhabi on February 5, 2019. This Holy Mass marked the closing stages of the historic trip – the first time a Pope has ever travelled to the Gulf region.
With close to a million Catholics living in the United Arab Emirates, unfortunately large numbers were unable to see the Pope in person. However, they were able to watch the Holy Mass at home on their TV screens as it aired on YouTube.
Just before Pope Francis held his Holy Mass an 8 year old Colombian girl breached through security and went under the railings to deliver a letter to the Pope. According to her family she desperately wanted to meet with the Pope even just for a moment so she could ask Pope Francis to pray for her family.
In the video posted on YouTube, you can see that Pope Francis had motioned for the security and driver to stop once he saw Valery running towards the vehicle. Her friend ran closeby to give the Pope another letter. Pope Francis reacted to the surprise visit by saying “A brave one!” “I liked it, you have to be a brave one to do that.”
Small children tend to run to the Pope during public appearances.
The Pope’s historic visit came with a promise of new beginnings where people learn and discover each other and their differences and to celebrate diversity. Diversity among societies is very important and is what makes us unique, and having Pope Francis acknowledge this and the religious leaders of the U.A.E is a true celebration of unity. This visit represented a leap of faith towards the cooperation between civilizations and to reconcile from a conflicted history.
Even though the visit was brief but it was long enough for Pope Francis to form a positive impression of the U.A.E. “I saw a modern country,” he quoted during his flight back to Rome. “It’s modern and welcoming of so many people.”