UAE residents set off to meet the Pope in Abu Dhabi - Lebanon news - أخبار لبنان
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UAE residents set off to meet the Pope in Abu Dhabi

Ticket holders were given access to free transport services at different hubs in Dubai, Al Ain, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, and Fujairah. Hundreds of buses lined up along 14 different pick-up points across the UAE on February 4 evening, ready to ferry thousands of excited residents from the Catholic community to Zayed Sports City in…

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UAE residents set off to meet the Pope in Abu Dhabi

Ticket holders were given access to free transport services at different hubs in Dubai, Al Ain, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, and Fujairah.

Hundreds of buses lined up along 14 different pick-up points across the UAE on February 4 evening, ready to ferry thousands of excited residents from the Catholic community to Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi, ahead of the Papal mass on February 5.

Ticket holders were given access to free transport services at different hubs in Dubai, Al Ain, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, and Fujairah. And despite the journey starting 12 hours before the mass was due to start, spirits remained high as church volunteers and officers from the policing authorities kept things running smoothly on the night.

With their picnic bags in tow and banners to welcome the Pope in-hand, many shared their hopes for the historic day with Khaleej Times.

UAE residents speak

Socorro Soriano, Filipino – “I feel blessed as I board the bus going to Abu Dhabi. I did not expect that I will be given an opportunity to attend the papal mass in the UAE. This is an experience that I will cherish forever. As I attend today’s mass, I pray that there will be peace and understanding among nations; respect and tolerance among various faiths; and I also for the UAE – its citizens and residents.”

Michelle Silva, Indian – “I would like to thank the UAE and its leaders for making the visit of Pope Francis possible. I am grateful for the opportunity to attend the mass celebrated by His Holiness – a thought that I would never have imagined a few months ago, more so in this part of the world. This visit is a true showcase of the UAE’s ‘Year of Tolerance’ and the ultimate display of the country’s large-heartedness in allowing us to follow our faith. Brimming with excitement, I will be praying for my family and friends who cannot be in the UAE for this truly blessed occasion.”

Sabrina Couto, Portuguese – “Having Pope Francis come to this part of the world is a new page in history uniting people of different cultures and faiths and bringing unity in diversity. This historical event is a great opportunity for us in the UAE. We are extremely grateful to the leaders of the UAE for inviting the Pope to the Middle East and appreciate their goodness and spirit of tolerance for the brother hood of mankind. We pray that this unity to live in peace and harmony with all communities, continues to grow in the Middle East and rest of the world.”

Sinit Thomas, Indian – “I believe that I am blessed to participate in the holy mass presided Pope Francis. I feel fortunate to work as a volunteer and dedicate my services for the success of this great event. I cannot express my gratitude in words to the ever-welcoming leaders of the UAE. This ‘Year of Tolerance’, the UAE is showcasing the perfect example of acceptance and tolerance. Long live the UAE!”

Murugesan M., India (one of the bus drivers from the Safa Park bus depot) -“I’m from India, my faith…I’m a Tamil Nadu, but I feel it is a privilege to be driving my fellow man, Catholics, to see the Pope, a man they hold in high esteem, a man who heads their Catholic Church. It is a great show by the UAE leadership to bring this mass to the UAE and though our religions may be different, we are all one.”

Matilda Fernandes (mother) Shawn and Andrea Mendez (children), India – “We arrived at the Safa bus depot at about 8:15pm and yes, though it will be a long night, it will be more than worth it just to get a glimpse of Pope Francis. It is such a unique experience and actually, it was my children who suggested we be a part of it and head to Abu Dhabi for the mass. I, myself, have been living in the UAE since I was 8-years-old and never thought that an opportunity like this to see the pope would come about here. I am excited and this will truly be something that lasts a lifetime in my memory.”

Rafael Vizcarra, Filipino – “What an atmosphere it is here already, and still, the mass is more than 12 hours away. This is such a special occasion for all of us here and just to feel the excitement from everyone is a feeling only the Pope can give us. We are blessed. Yes, it’s cold, but we are willing to endure anything to see His Holiness in the flesh. The papal mass will be an experience which marks a first in my lifetime and it will be an honour to be there and to be a part of it. When I heard the Pope was coming to the UAE, I knew I would be at the mass, and here I am, ready to go.”

Laura Tutaan, Filipino – “We were one of the last people to get a ticket to the mass, we just got it from St Mary’s at 8:30pm last night, but we were the first people in the queue here tonight. We arrived at 7:00pm even though the gates were due to open at 11.15pm. We were too excited to wait. I cannot explain the feelings we have. I am attending the mass with 10 of my friends and honestly, last week, I was wondering if at all I could get a ticket to the papal mass. But by the grace of God, I did. What a day this will be. What an experience it will be. And really, thank you UAE. The Pope came to my country, the Philippines a few years ago but I didn’t get to see him. Now, here in my second home, I will get to see him. Words are not enough to describe my thanks.”

Joseph Barredo, Filipino – “We are so thankful to the UAE government for arranging this event to promote interfaith harmony. The Year of Tolerance is a step in the right direction and it’ll strengthen relationships. I’m going to pray for my family’s well being and good health. I missed seeing Pope Francis in Philippines as I was in Dubai but thankfully I’ll have the honour of meeting him.”

Gogie Alcaraz, Filipino – “I feel so blessed that I got the chance to be part of history. I was the first one to arrive at the Jebel Ali access hub at 7:30pm. As more than 11,000 faithful will be gathering here, I wanted to reach well in advance. I’m constantly checking Pope’s news updates on the Khaleej Times WhatsApp group. At the papal mass, I’m going to pray for my good health and prosperity. ”

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Earlier today, the UAE became one of the first countries in the world to approve the administration of the vaccine to this age group.

The Department of Health — Abu Dhabi (DoH) has announced that Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine is now available to children aged 3 to 17 years at multiple locations across the emirate.
This came after the Ministry of Health and Prevention approved the vaccine for emergency use among children aged three and above.
Walk-in vaccinations are available at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, Al Mushrif Children’s Specialty Centre- Seha, Al Mushrif Majlis, Al Bateen Majlis and Al Manhal Majlis.
For children in Al Ain region, the DoH said vaccinations are available at Al Kubaisi Hall of Al Ain Exhibition Centre, Al Towayya Children’s Specialty Centre — Seha and Falaj Hazza Majlis.
Also read: Sinopharm vaccine for kids aged 3 and above in UAE
Following approval by the Ministry of Health and Prevention for emergency use, which was based on clinical trials and local evaluation, @DoHSocial now offers Sinopharm vaccine to children aged 3-17 in multiple locations across the emirate. pic.twitter.com/P3EOKdcCvj— (@admediaoffice) August 2, 2021
In Al Dhafra region, children aged 3-17 can get their vaccinations at Ghayati Hospital, Liwa Hospital, Marfa Hospital, Sila Hospital, Delma Hospital, Al Dhafra Family Medicine Centre and Al Dhafra Cooperative Society.
The decision is in line with efforts to combat the pandemic and provide protection for all community members.— (@admediaoffice) August 2, 2021
The Department of Health – Abu Dhabi said the approval was based on clinical trials and local evaluation.
Earlier today, the UAE became one of the first countries in the world to approve the administration of the vaccine to this age group.
The approval follows a trial that was conducted in Abu Dhabi to monitor the immune response of 900 children to the vaccine.

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