Currents News Staff
The Vatican published a press release announcing a papal trip to Abu Dhabi on February 3-5, 2019. Pope Francis plans on participating in the International Interfaith Meeting on “Human Fraternity.”
The visit is in response to an invitation by the Catholic Church and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed, the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. He visited the Pope in 2016 at the Vatican.
The theme of the trip has been chosen as “Make me a Channel of your Peace,” after St. Francis of Assisi. The goal is for Pope Francis’ visit to spread “the peace of God within the hearts of all people.”
“The Pope is very much convinced that all people of good will can agree on this and should be working for peace. The Pope also sees peace really as a solution to so many problems of poverty in the world,” said Vatican Spokesperson Greg Burke.
He will continue inter-religious dialogue, like he did during his visit to Egypt in April 2017.
“The Pope has often talked about the culture of encounter and this is really a perfect example of that. It’s dialogue with other religions and specifically in this case with Muslims,” said Burke.
Additionally, the logo represents the colors of both the Vatican’s and United Arab Emirates’ flag. An olive branch, which Pope Francis often gifts to visitors, is in the mouth of the dove. It’s a symbol of the country “as a herald of peace.”
A majority Muslim population, around 10 percent of citizens of the U.A.E are Catholics. In 2007, they entered into full diplomatic relations with the Vatican. Pope Francis will be the first pope to visit this country.