Leave home up to 12 hours early to attend papal mass

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Hundreds lined up to collect their tickets for the papal mass at the St. mary’s Church in Dubai. — Photo by Dhes Handumon
Hundreds lined up to collect their tickets for the papal mass at the St. mary's Church in Dubai. - Photo by Dhes Handumon

Abu Dhabi - Nearly 135,000 people are expected to flock to the Zayed Sports City to see Pope Francis.

By Anjana Sankar

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Published: Wed 30 Jan 2019, 8:36 PM

To make it to the papal mass in the Capital on February 5 morning, the faithful will have to leave their homes as early as the previous night.
Nearly 135,000 people are expected to flock to the Zayed Sports City to see Pope Francis and it is expected to be the biggest crowd to have ever gathered in the UAE.
Buses that will ferry ticket-holders will start their trips from designated access hubs as early as 11pm on February 4 from Dubai and 1.30am from Abu Dhabi.
Authorities said the gates of the Sports City will open at 5am on Tuesday - more than five hours before the papal mass at 10.30am - to accommodate the huge crowd that will pour in from across the UAE and the world.
The faithful will have to walk one to two kilometres from their drop-off points to reach the venue.
"It is going to be a walk of sacrifice; a pilgrimage to see our Holy Father. People are not at all worried about the long wait or the arduous journey," said Fr Ani Xavier, parish priest of St Paul's Church in Mussafah.
"Some people will reach as early as 4am and some will reach by 6am or 7am. But no one is complaining."
He said 6,600 of their parishioners who have tickets will have to reach the church in Mussafah or the access point in front of the Emirates Driving Institute before 1.15am.
"We have been allocated 128 buses. The first bus will leave at 1.30am and the last bus is expected to leave before 5.30am," said Fr Xavier.
"The venues is just a 20 to 30 minutes' drive from our church. But considering the logistical challenge, everyone has been asked to be patient and cooperative throughout the journey."
Parishioners from Dubai and other emirates will have to brace for a long night and start their journey on Monday night.
The faithful from St Mary's Church in Dubai will have to reach Safa Park by 11.15pm on Monday. Around 18,000 people will be transported from the park in 400 buses, according to the official website for the papal visit.
Members of the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Fujairah and St Antony of Padua Church in Ras Al Khaimah will start leaving for Abu Dhabi at 10pm.
Some 12,735 faithful from St Michael's Church in Sharjah will be transported in 283 buses with the first trip starting at 11.15pm.
Guidelines for your trip
>Remember to bring your transport and entry tickets
>Don't lose your transport ticket during the event, you will need to present it for the return journey
>Bring enough food and drinks to get you through the wait and the long bus trip. However, you are not allowed to bring them inside the venue. Water will be provided on-site
>Stay in touch with your local parish coordinators for updates and additional information
Access hubs schedule
Free arrangement for the transport of the faithful who wish to attend the papal mass can be accessed through various hubs across the emirates as follows:
Abu Dhabi
Nations Tower: Opens 1am; Closes 5am (February 5)
Dalma Street: Opens 1.15am; Closes 5.15am (February 5)
Musaffah: Opens 1,15 am; Closes 5.30am (February 5)
Al Ain: Opens 11.30pm (February 4); Closes 3.15am (February 5)
Ruwais: Opens 11.30pm (February 4); Closes 2.15 am (February 5)
Safa Park: Opens 11.15pm (February 4) Closes 3.15am (February 5)
Wonderland: Opens 11.15pm (February 4); Closes 3.15am (February 5)
Al Qusais Pond Park: Opens 11.15pm (February 4); Closes 3.15 am (February 5)
Al Nahda: Opens 11.15pm (February 4); Closes 3.15am (February 5)
Jebel Ali: Opens 12am; Closes 4am (February 5)
(Access hub is at Muhaisnah, Dubai 76th Street)
Opens 11.15pm (February 4); Closes 3.15am (February 5)

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