Bahrain.. Pope Francis presides over a mass in the presence of a large crowd

About thirty thousand people gathered, Saturday, at the Bahrain National Stadium, who enthusiastically attended from the early hours of the morning to participate in a mass presided over by Pope Francis, on the third day of his visit to the Gulf kingdom.

The participants, who are mostly from Asian countries, distributed the seats and arena of the Bahrain National Stadium, the largest sports facility in the Kingdom, located in the Riffa area.

Families with their children, elderly and clergy, who had registered for weeks, flocked to attend the mass “for justice and peace”, which begins at 8:30 local time (5:30 GMT).

Pope Francis greets fans at Bahrain National Stadium

“We’ve been here since 1 a.m. We haven’t slept,” said Philomena Abranche, a 46-year-old Indian resident in Bahrain who volunteers to organize the mass. “We are very excited about the idea of ​​meeting the Pope,” she said.

She added, “All people want to see the Pope, it is a dream. The Pope above all represents peace in the world and this is what we need at this moment.”

Saturday’s mass is the second stop for Pope Francis to meet Catholic Christians, after a first stop on Friday evening at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Arabs, the largest Catholic church in the Gulf, which he entered amid applause and tears.

On the seats in the courtyard of the stadium and on the seats of its stands, which can accommodate 25,000 people, the organizers placed plastic bags containing a hat bearing the emblem of the visit, in addition to a prayer book and the papal flag, among other things.

“Hosting Pope Francis is the greatest event of the year,” said Margaret Heida, 63, a Christian from Bahrain.

She added, “People usually go to Italy to see the Pope and they may not succeed in that. But I saw him in the church yesterday and I will see him today. I consider myself lucky because yesterday I was able to hold his hand and take his blessing.”

The liturgy is entitled “For Justice and Peace”

During the mass, the Pope will deliver a speech in Spanish, his fifth since his arrival in Bahrain. The Pope enters the stadium aboard the papal car that he uses during his foreign visits. Since arriving in Bahrain, the 85-year-old has been using a wheelchair and cane to move around, due to chronic knee pain he recently suffered and impeding his movement.

Bahrain, with a population of 1.4 million and a country that respects freedom of worship, established diplomatic relations with the Vatican in 2000. It is home to about eighty thousand Catholic Christians, who are mainly workers from India and the Philippines.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *