Catholics travel from Saudi Arabia to attend Pope Francis’ mass at the stadium in Bahrain | Tech US News

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Catholic foreign workers living in Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates also traveled to the mass.

Pope Francis arrived to applause at Bahrain’s national football stadium as he greeted the enthusiastic crowd from the popemobile.

In his homily, the Pope repeated the words of Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome it with good.”

Pope Francis said that Jesus “suffers when he sees in our day and in many parts of the world ways of exercising power that feed on oppression and violence, seeking to expand their own space by restricting that of others, imposing their own dominance and restricting basic freedoms and, in this way, oppressing the weak”.

More in the Middle East – Africa

Faced with the oppression and enmity that exists today, the Gospel calls Christians to “love everyone, even our enemies”, said the Pope.

A family awaits the arrival of Pope Francis at the Bahrain National Stadium on November 5, 2022. Alexey Gotovsky/EWTN
A family awaits the arrival of Pope Francis at the Bahrain National Stadium on November 5, 2022. Alexey Gotovsky/EWTN

Christians form a small minority in Bahrain. Although more than 70% of Bahrain’s total population of 1.5 million is Muslim, there are about 161,000 Catholics living in the country, according to 2020 Vatican statistics. The country is home to two Catholic churches and 20 Catholic priests.

Pope Francis described Bahrain as “a living image of coexistence in diversity” and “an image of our world, increasingly marked by the constant migration of peoples and by a pluralism of ideas, customs and traditions”.

He added: “So it is important to accept Jesus’ challenge: ‘If you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not tax collectors do the same?'”

At the end of the mass, Bishop Paul Hinder, apostolic administrator of the Apostolic Vicariate of North Arabia, thanked Pope Francis for his “pastoral care for a small Church in a small country”.

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The bishop said: “Like your patron Saint Francis of Assisi, you are not afraid to build bridges with the Muslim world and to show your fraternal closeness to all people of good will regardless of their cultural background and religious belief.”

“We, the Christians of the Near East, those of ancient Eastern tradition and those who as emigrants live temporarily in this part of the world, try to apply the invitation of St. Francis to his brothers to “live spiritually among the Muslims… not to participate in arguments and [simply] to recognize it [we] they are Christians’”.

Pope Francis expressed his gratitude to the Catholics who traveled from Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region to attend the mass. He said: “I bring today the affection and closeness of the universal Church, which looks at you and embraces you, which loves you and encourages you.”

“May the Blessed Virgin, Our Lady of Arabia, accompany you on your journey and keep you constantly in love with everyone.”

Alexey Gotovsky contributed to this report.

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