Pope Francis holds first Papal Mass in Abu Dhabi

Pope Francis holds first Papal Mass in Abu Dhabi

Pope Francis holds first Papal Mass in Abu Dhabi

The United Nations is trying to implement a fragile ceasefire deal in the country's main Hodeidah port, a lifeline for millions and the site of some of the war's fiercest battles. They included asylum-seekers, migrants and 4,000 Muslims.

He added that following Christ doesn't mean "always being cheerful", saying that one "who is afflicted, who suffers injustice, who does everything he can to be a peacemaker, knows what it means to suffer".

The Pope noted that numerous UAE's Catholics "live far from home, missing the affection of your loved ones, and perhaps also feeling uncertainty about the future".

The Pope will address an inter-faith gathering of over 1 million people at the Zayed Sports City on Tuesday.

Jesus, Francis said, "did not ask us to build great works or draw attention to ourselves with extraordinary gestures".

Prayers were said in multiple languages such as Tagalog, which is spoken by many people in the Philippines, and Konkani, spoken in parts of India.

Moore told the Religion News Service he's expecting increased interfaith exchanges between Christians, Muslims and Jews, and even the Hindu community, stating efforts may even include "the very real possibility that 2019 will likely be the year one or more majority-Muslim, and even Arab, countries - while remaining ever supportive of a Palestinian state - will decide that a resolution to the Israeli and Palestinian conflict is not a mandatory prerequisite for detente if not full-on diplomatic relations with the State of Israel".

During his visit, the Pope will also join Sheikh Ahmed Al Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, and other members of the Muslim Council of Elders at the Grand Mosque in a landmark moment for interreligious dialogue.

"I am thinking in particular of Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Libya".

Pope rejected "hatred and violence" in the name of God.' The pontiff, who met with the world's top Sunni Muslim cleric in Abu Dhabi, said 'every form of violence must be condemned without hesitation.

The signing ceremony was in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and attended by more than 400 religious leaders.

The UAE invited the pope to visit as part of its 2019 "Year of Tolerance" which has its own designated ministry. Human rights groups say that declaration "rings hollow" amid what they call a crackdown on free speech, while others point to multiple human rights abuses. "Crosses can't be seen in public, and conversion from Islam is a crime punishable by death".

The pope also called for "the full recognition" of the rights of people across the Middle East, a potential reference to communities including Shiites in Saudi Arabia, refugees and migrants, stateless peoples and other minorities.

It isn't the first time Francis has pleaded for peace in the embattled nation, having used his Christmas mass in December to endorse peace talks and express hopes that a UN-brokered ceasefire "can finally bring relief to all those children and people exhausted by war and starvation".

In his homily, the Pope praised the crowd as "a choir composed of numerous nations, languages and rites".

In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI incited outrage in the Muslim world by quoting a 14th century Byzantine emperor's criticism of Islam: "Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached", Benedict said.

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