Eagerly awaited - GulfToday

Eagerly awaited


Pope Francis waves during the weekly Angelus prayer in the Vatican. File/AFP

The upcoming visit of Pope Francis has generated so much of interest that almost everyone in the country is eagerly waiting for His Holiness, more so the Catholics who on Tuesday hope to come up close to the Pope at the mass in Abu Dhabi (“UAE to host religious leaders,” Feb.2, The Gulf Today).

The visit is historic in many ways. Apart from it being the first time a Pontiff will visit the GCC, it is also the first time any Papal visit will coincide with a religious figure as significant as the Grand Imam.  Religious tolerance is the need of the hour and I am sure the Global Conference on Human Fraternity will go a long way in bridging religious divides.

I cannot stress more on how important it is to have such deliberations. That an estimated 700 personalities consisting of religious leaders, thinkers and faith representatives will be a part of the conference highlights the magnitude of the meet. UAE’s need praise for their efforts.

The country has been a beacon of hope as far as religious tolerance goes. And as your reports points out the country has a long and proud history of inter-faith dialogue and freedom of religious expression.

I am an expat and have attended services at quite a few churches spread across the emirates.  In fact it was very interesting to read that archeologists have found remains of a church and monastery on Sir Bani Yas Island dating back to the 7th Century.

Ivo Fernandes — By email