A letter from Bishop Paul Hinder
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
On Thursday, 6 th December 2018, the Holy See and the Government of the UAE announced the visit of Pope Francis to Abu Dhabi from the late evening of 3 rd February to midday of 5th February 2019. We are happy and grateful that Pope Francis accepted the invitation of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, to participate in the “International Interfaith Meeting on Human Fraternity”. At the same time, the visit is also an answer to the invitation addressed to Pope Francis by the Catholic Church in the UAE.
The detailed program of the very short and tightly scheduled visit will be published before Christmas. However, I can already tell you that a public Mass will be celebrated by Pope Francis in Abu Dhabi on the morning of Tuesday, 5 th February 2019. Arrangements are being put in place in order to make it possible for a maximum of our faithful to participate in this historic event. Let us keep in mind that it will be the first visit of a Pope to the Arabian Peninsula.
I wish that the short visit be a moment of deepening our faith and our adherence to the bishop of Rome who is the head of the college of all bishops. Please pray that the visit will be a spiritual event. Pray for the rulers of this country who make the visit possible.
I thank the UAE government for their generosity, not only have they made the visit possible but have wholeheartedly given us a venue to celebrate Mass. I ask that we respect and cooperate with the instructions of the special team from our Church which is being put in place for the visit. The team will work closely with the government to make this visit go smoothly and according to plan. The official website www.uaepapalvisit.org
We welcome Pope Francis with open hearts and pray with Saint Francis of Assisi: “Make me a channel of your peace!” May the visit be an important step in the dialogue between Muslims and Christians and contribute to mutual understanding and peace-making in the region of the Middle East. I wish, that a special intercession be inserted in all obligation Masses leading up to the visit for a spiritually successful visit of the Holy Father in the United Arab Emirates.
Our Lady of Arabia, pray for Pope Francis, pray for all of us!
With my blessings and prayerful regards,
Bishop Paul Hinder OFM Cap
Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia
(UAE, Oman, Yemen)