Pope Francis to hold historic Mass on Arabian Peninsula

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ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Pope Francis is turning his attention to the thriving Catholic community in the United Arab Emirates as he concludes his historic visit to the Arabian Peninsula.

A day after making a broad appeal for Christian and Muslim leaders to work together to promote peace and reject war, Francis visits a cathedral in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday and then celebrates Mass in the Zayed Sports City Stadium.

It is being billed as the largest show of public Christian worship on the peninsula.

Francis is on the first-ever papal visit to the Arabian Peninsula, the birthplace of Islam. On Monday, he met with Emirati leaders and signed a document promoting “human fraternity” with Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, the grand imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar, the revered 1,000-year-old seat of Sunni learning.

Pope Francis greets Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, the grand imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar, after an Interreligious meeting at the Founder’s Memorial in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Feb. 4, 2019. Pope Francis has asserted in the first-ever papal visit to the Arabian Peninsula that religious leaders have a duty to reject all war and commit themselves to dialogue. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
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