30,000 worshippers attend Pope's mass in Bahrain

The pontiff is on his second visit to the Gulf region



Pope Francis arrives to preside over a holy mass at Bahrain National Stadium during his visit to Bahrain. – Reuters
Pope Francis arrives to preside over a holy mass at Bahrain National Stadium during his visit to Bahrain. – Reuters

By AFP

Published: Sat 5 Nov 2022, 8:27 PM

Last updated: Sat 5 Nov 2022, 8:31 PM

About 30,000 flag-waving worshippers attended an open-air mass held by Pope Francis in mainly Bahrain on Saturday.

The pope was met with dances and flowers inside the Sacred Heart school, where he urged children to "embrace the culture of care".

The pontiff, leader of the world's 1.3 billion Catholics, is on his second visit to the Gulf region, home to millions of migrant workers including a sizeable Catholic community.

Matricia, a Filipina living in Dammam in neighbouring Saudi Arabia, said she felt "lucky" to be at Saturday morning's mass.

"I am feeling blessed because we are really lucky to be at this holy event, where the pope will be giving the mass to all of us," she said.

At the service, some congregants had tears in their eyes as they waited to see the 85-year-old at Bahrain National Stadium, the kingdom's biggest venue.

Francis, who uses a wheelchair and walking stick due to knee problems, smiled and waved to the crowds and kissed children from his popemobile as it drove towards a white stage backdropped by a giant gold cross.

"This very land is a living image of coexistence in diversity and indeed an image of our world, increasingly marked by the constant migration of peoples and by a pluralism of ideas, customs and traditions," he said in an address

Pope Francis's 39th international visit is largely aimed at building ties with Muslim officials.

On Friday, he met the grand imam of Egypt's Al Azhar Mosque and members of the Muslim Council of Elders.

He also attended a service at Our Lady of Arabia Cathedral, the biggest in the Arabian peninsula that seats more than 2,000.

Hundreds of migrant workers were among the congregation welcoming him.


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