In a video message sent on Thursday, Pope Francis greets the people of the United Arab Emirates, and looks forward to marking a new step in the history of interreligious relations.
By Devin Watkins
Pope Francis travels to Abu Dhabi from 3 to 5 February to participate in an interreligious meeting and to celebrate Mass.
In his video message, the Pope said he is looking forward to visiting the UAE, calling it “a land that seeks to be a model of coexistence, human brotherhood, and encounter between different civilizations and cultures”.
In the UAE, the Holy Father said, many people “find a safe place to work and live freely, while respecting diversity.”
Gratitude for invitation
Pope Francis thanked the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, for inviting him to participate in an interreligious meeting on “Human Brotherhood”.
He then expressed his gratitude to other UAE Authorities for their “generous hospitality and fraternal welcome”.
“I thank my friend and dear brother the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, and all those who aided in the preparation of the meeting, for their courage and desire to affirm that faith in God unites and does not divide,” he said.
Faith brings people closer
Pope Francis said faith in God brings people closer despite their differences, and “distances us from hostility and aversion.”
The Pope said he looks forward to writing “a new page in the history of relations between religions, confirming that we are brothers and sisters, even though we are different.”
Finally, Pope Francis called the UAE “a land of prosperity and peace, a land of sun and harmony, a land of coexistence and encounter”. And he invited the people of the United Arab Emirates to pray for him.
FULL TEXT Source: Vatican News va