Pope Francis thrills small Gulf Catholic group with massive Mass By Reuters




© Reuters. Pope Francis greets individuals as he attends a holy mass at Bahrain Nationwide Stadium throughout his apostolic journey, in Riffa, Bahrain, November 5, 2022. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed


By Philip Pullella

AWALI, Bahrain (Reuters) – Pope Francis stated Mass for hundreds of Catholics in Bahrain on Saturday, thrilling members of the small overseas Catholic group from across the Gulf and urging them present kindness to their hosts, even when they’re typically appeared down on.

The group of about 30,000 those who stuffed Bahrain’s Nationwide Stadium was the second-largest gathering for a papal Mass on the Arabian Peninsula, following one which drew greater than 100,000 within the United Arab Emirates in 2019.

“This can be a miracle,” stated Mary Grace Fortes, 36, a Filipino who works on the reception of a lodge in Bahrain. “So necessary for us.”

Like many Filipino ladies who work exterior their nation, Fortes is married and sends a refund dwelling to assist assist her household, together with her husband and 16-year-old son.

Tons of of Catholic overseas employees had been bussed in over the 25-km (16 mile) King Fahd Causeway that hyperlinks Bahrain with Saudia Arabia, the place there are not any church buildings and the place Catholics can’t worship overtly.

“The Bahrainis organized every little thing completely for us,” stated Jos Chazoor, 53, who’s from Kerala in India and works as a supervisor for a medical tools firm in Saudi Arabia.

Chazoor’s 75-year-old mom was too overcome with emotion to reply to a reporter’s questions simply earlier than the pope arrived within the packed stadium to an enthusiastic welcome by trustworthy waving yellow-and-white Vatican flags.

“She is just too thrilled to speak,” stated Chazoor, who drives along with his mom over the causeway from Saudi Arabia frequently to attend Mass in one in all Bahrain’s two church buildings, which offer pastoral take care of the some 160,000 Catholics in Bahrain.

In his homily, Francis appeared to reward Bahrain’s comparatively open coverage in the direction of non-Muslims.

“This very land is a residing picture of coexistence in range, and certainly a picture of our world, more and more marked by the fixed migration of peoples and by a pluralism of concepts, customs and traditions,” he stated.

Overseas employees, lots of them from Asia, present the spine of Gulf economies, working in sectors similar to development, hospitality, transport and the oil and gasoline sector.

The Worldwide Labour Organisation says the Gulf’s migrant employees have lengthy confronted issues together with exploitation by recruitment companies and employers, poor work situations, restricted entry to justice and restricted or no freedom of affiliation.

Francis urged his listeners to be type even to these native individuals within the Gulf space who don’t deal with them properly, saying this was key to the Gospel message of loving your enemies.

He stated they need to all the time be “persevering in good even when evil is completed to us, breaking the spiral of vengeance, disarming violence, demilitarizing the center”.

As Francis was pushed on a open popemobile by way of the gang on the stadium’s pitch simply earlier than the beginning of the Mass, a speaker on the altar platform shouted “God bless the pope, God bless the royal household.”

The prayers of the trustworthy throughout the Mass had been learn in languages spoken by overseas employees together with Tagalog, Swahili, Malayalam, Tamil and Konkani.

The Mass was attended by one of many sons of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and a number of other authorities ministers.

Source link