Abu Dhabi, a choir of nations for Papal Mass. A book for children on 'Who is Pope Francis'

In the first open mass on the Arabian peninsula, in the presence of Pope Francis, there will be a choir of 120 people from 13 nations; an Anglican organist who is also the CEO of the Dubai Airport; 10 trumpets. For the catechism of 25 thousand children, a book that explains the life of the pontiff, from his childhood, 50 thousand copies printed.


Abu Dhabi (AsiaNews) - The Emirate of Abu Dhabi has proven to be one of the Arab countries most open to Christians. And at the same time, Christians - all migrants - living in the emirates are revealing surprising creativity.

Pope Francis' visit to Abu Dhabi from February 3 to 5 is a unique event, but it is the result of a liberal opening of the emirates to Christians dating back to the 1960s, when permission was granted to open the first churches and the first Christian schools.

The Catholic faithful of the emirates, which are about one million, are all migrants from the whole world; their contribution to the economy and stability of society is essential.

For the Pope's visit, Prince Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan has made available the Zayed Sports City of Abu Dhabi, where the outdoor mass will be held, a first in the Arabian peninsula. 

According to the official website of the papal visit (https://www.uaepapalvisit.org), the choir of the Mass will be composed of 120 members of 13 different nationalities: Filipinos, Lebanese, Syrians, Jordanians, Armenians, French, Italians, Nigerians, Americans, Indonesians, Dutch, Argentine, demonstrating the multicultural composition of the Christian community. 

The choir will be accompanied by the organ and 10 trumpets. The choir director is a Filipino woman, Joy Santos; the organist is Paul Griffiths, an Anglican musician, who is also the CEO of the Dubai airport.

Among the most excited for the papal visit, are the over 25 thousand Christian children who attend Sunday catechism (or Friday). The vicariate of Southern Arabia has prepared a book especially for them entitled "Meet Pope Francis in the UAE", which tells the life of the Argentine Pope, from his childhood.  50 thousand copies have been printed, it has been given to every child and has become the instrument for some lessons in the catechism ahead of the visit.