Dear Brothers and Sisters,


Three weeks ago, I wrote a letter to you announcing the visit of Pope Francis to Abu Dhabi from the late evening of 3 rd February to midday of 5 th February 2019. In the meantime, we have established a certain number of committees dealing with the many practical aspects of the short visit. I have appointed Fr. Michael O’Sullivan as Coordinator for the papal visit. Since the beginning of December 2018, he has been working here in Abu Dhabi and will continue this task until after the visit.


The preparation of the visit is going on in close collaboration with the respective departments of the UAE government and the Vatican. On our part, commissions constituted of priests, religious and lay-people are working hard in the different fields of Communication and Media, Registration for the Papal Mass, Liturgy, Logistics, Venue and Hospitality. There are sub-committees working out the details for particular elements of the papal visit such as the private prayer of the Holy Father in St. Joseph’s Cathedral.


Many of the faithful are eagerly waiting for the day when Pope Francis will celebrate the Holy Mass at the stadium in Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi. As the capacity of the stadium (inside and outside) is limited we have had to work out a system to distribute the tickets in the most just way. First of all, the faithful of our Vicariate have the priority. In line with this, we decided to choose a system of registration per parish, each of which will get a quota of seats according to the presumed size of the parish. Parishes will receive detailed information from the respective committee with the instructions on how to proceed. The parish priests will let you know through the communication channels of each parish how the registration will work during the coming days.


It is obvious that many will not get the opportunity to join the papal mass in Abu Dhabi. Preparations are made so that the whole liturgy can be followed via the website on live-stream. You will be able to be part of the celebration not only on your computer but in each parish church.


The visit of Pope Francis to Abu Dhabi will be a historic moment for our Church. Although it will not be possible to satisfy all the wishes given the short time of the papal visit, we have tried to do our best given the limits of time and space to give witness of our Church reality in this part of the world, which is unknown in most of the other parts of the Catholic Church. People here in the country and in the Middle East and even around the world will follow the event. Let us make it a moment of spiritual witness of our deep faith and our love for and within the Catholic Church, but also of our spirit of peace and understanding towards those who are of other faiths.



Therefore, it is crucial that we avoid every kind of competition and self-promotion. As a Catholic migrant Church in a Muslim country, we are called to give witness to unity, respect and mutual love and at the same time show humility. Let us continue to pray for the success of the visit of Pope Francis to the UAE and welcome him as the one who is strengthening the faith of his brothers and sisters.


Our Lady of Arabia, Ss. Peter and Paul, pray for Pope Francis, pray for all of us!


With my blessings and prayerful regards,



Bishop Paul Hinder OFM Cap

Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia

(UAE, Oman, Yemen)



Abu Dhabi, 26 th December 2018

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