The planned appearance of Pope Francis in Abu Dhabi is huge news.
More than 140,000 people are expected to make the trip to Zayed Sports City on Tuesday, February 5 for a papal mass with the head of the Catholic church.
Now, the UAE government has announced that private sector workers with tickets to the mass will be given a holiday. The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation says: “The holiday for permit holders underlines the UAE’s commitment to acceptance and open-mindedness during the Year of Tolerance, and its ongoing dedication to facilitating interfaith dialog.”
Pope Francis will arrive in the UAE on February 3 and visit the Presidential Palace the following day to meet HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. He will then meet with leaders of other faiths in the capital before heading to the Founder’s Memorial. On Tuesday he will visit St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Abu Dhabi before the public Mass at Zayed Sports City.
There will be free transport for people to get to the mass, with some people’s journey’s starting at 11pm the previous day.
No vehicles will be allowed on Abu Dhabi island on Tuesday, so those with tickets will have to get specially organised buses from dedicated pick-up points. Tens of thousands of people are also expected to tune into the mass at www.uaepapalvisit.org.