A history made.
Three weeks ago, people in the UAE and nearby countries have converged in Abu Dhabi.
- 180,000 People attended the Papal Mass
- 4000 – Muslims brothers and sisters were in attendance
- 2000 – Free bus rides
- 1500 – Volunteers, Police and service men
- 100 – Emirati Police Officers (Who greeted us with a smile and a good morning @ 1 am.
- 120 – Choir/Musicians
800 years ago, St. Francis of Asisi visited and met the Sultan of Egypt. Today (written this on 5th Feb) comes another Francis, The Pope who is the first Pope to visit the Arabian Peninsula.
In lieu to the UAE’s Year Tolerance, Abu Dhabi/UAE have invited the Pope to visit the nation, meet with the Human Fraternity Council and the Catholic Christians in the Emirates.
In Dubai, it is estimated that 100K Catholics are the parishioners in St. Mary’s Church alone, therefore with this situation Kokobear and I were up for a live stream at home. What are the chances of being drawn by lots for this opportunity. Fast forwards, Thursday mid-day our chatroom started buzzing and Sis Sasa has shared this photo of our names being on the list on Day 4 draw! Kokobear booked his leave and have it approved right away. Then we booked our hotel for the day. We are all set.
4 Feb Night @ Al Nahda Bus Station
It was a cold night but as early as 11 PM we were in cue for the bus. The men and women were in a separate lines and by 12:30 am (5 Feb) we are inside the station waiting for our bus ride. We headed to Abu Dhabi and arrived at around 2:45 AM. Then another hour and half for the line to get inside the stadium “outside venue”
We found a font view of a huge screen right in the running track, so at 3 AM we were on site with our picnic cloth, and slept for sometime while waiting for 10:30 AM. It was cold and breezy but it never stopped us from keeping our ground. We’re also aware that our view will be away from the entrance where Pope Francis will pass by riding his Pope Mobile, so our only tiny wish is just to see even his head amidst the thousands of people.
Truth be told, we only saw the black post on his car, but then heard the chanting and shouting of the people calling out his name… Pope Francis! Pope Francis! Pope Francis! It brought me chills and a teary eye. This is a dream come true!
The mass started and in between, I have this feeling of wanting to cry, feeling blessed even if I’m outside the stadium. I felt His Mercy, Grace and Love abounds even outside and the truth that He loved us. I can’t put the exact words to describe it but just like what the Holy Father said, you are blessed. Indeed I am! Thank God.
Today’s Headlines @thenationalae @gulfnews and @khaleejtimes: #PopeFrancisInUAE. Thank you #UAEGovernment for this! Long live the Sheikhs and all of the rulers of this nation.
Heres some of our not-so-glamourous photos but still full of fun and faith!
Sharing you His Holiness’ full text homily, that he used to address the faithful in Abu Dhabi here > Pope Francis Homily in Abu Dhabi (From Vatican News).