Pope Francis lands in UAE for historic visit

Pope Francis celebrates a holy mass as part of the 23rd World Day for Consecrated Life

"Let us together ask here today for the grace of rediscovering the attraction of following Jesus, of imitating him, of not seeking anyone else but him and his humble love", the Pope said February 5 during Mass at Zayed Sports City, a stadium in Abu Dhabi.

The United Nations is trying to implement a fragile ceasefire deal in the country's main Hodeidah port, a lifeline for millions and the site of some of the war's fiercest battles.

Addressing the crowds at the service, the Pope said: "It is most certainly not easy for you to live far from home, missing the affection of your loved ones, and perhaps also feeling uncertainty about the future".

"The Lord specialises in doing new things; he can even open paths in the desert".

A handful of women in traditional black abayas could be seen carrying Vatican City flags as men in long white gowns walked to their seats. Some 50,000 people packed inside the venue, while another 120,000 watched via video link on large screens outside.

A senior UAE official welcomed his comments on the peace deal: "Let us assure its implementation and make 2019 the year of peace in Yemen", Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash wrote on Twitter late on Sunday.

Francis and Tayeb also called for brotherhood among different faiths, rooted in humankind's shared origins as God's beloved creation.

"I am thinking in particular of Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Libya", he said at the interfaith meeting attended by Sheikh Ahmed and UAE leaders.

The coalition's bombing campaign has killed mainly civilians in a conflict that has taken tens of thousands of lives. This is the case in my country: a hub in a volatile region, where cultural diversity is ingrained as part of our social fabric.

Freezing rain warning issued for Wednesday
It was another attractive weather day on Tuesday along the Front Range with seasonal temperatures, sunny skies and dry conditions. Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for Toronto and much of the GTA, warning of freezing rain Wednesday.

Outside the stadium, a small group of people waved a sign reading: "We the Catholics of Yemen love you". He said, "The people who are going are happy about it, but there are many who will not get to see the Pope".

"I am not sure what will change: time will tell - hope, hope", she said.

As a citizen of the United Arab Emirates and as a Muslim, I am a fervent advocate of peaceful co-existence and enhanced understanding between peoples, cultures, and religions.

Recently, the Gulf state was slammed by rights groups after an Emirati court upheld a 10-year jail sentence against rights activist Ahmed Mansoor for criticising its rulers on social media, just two weeks after the UAE declared 2019 the "Year of Tolerance".

More than 85 percent of UAE residents are expatriates, including about a million Catholics - the vast majority of them from the Philippines and India.

Despite making some reforms, the kafala (visa sponsorship) system continues to tie migrant workers to their employers - meaning those who leave their employer can face punishment for "absconding".

An opinion piece in Saudi-owned, pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat praised the visit and its message of tolerance and coexistence, which it said confronted a discourse of extremism in the region.

The three-day trip by Pope Francis was organised in collaboration with the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia, which oversees church operations in Oman, the UAE and Yemen, and had previously invited him to come to the Middle East, as well as the Vatican City authorities.

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