28 International News

posted Feb 6, 2019, 5:54 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 6, 2019, 5:54 AM ]

Pope meets with Muslim Council of the Elderly

The impressive Sheikh Zayed Mosque, that Pope Francis visited on his second day in the United Arab Emirates, seems like it could be out of a movie. The Pope arrived in a small car, and Imam Ahmed Al-Tayeb went out to meet him. He is the spiritual guide of 1,100 million Sunni Muslims and the great Imam of Al-Azhar University.

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Pope receives special reception at the Presidential Palace

Pope Francis received a first class reception during the official welcoming ceremony to the United Arab Emirates. As Pope Francis travelled to Abu Dhabi Presidential Palace, he was escorted by the royal guards, as planes flew overhead displaying the colours of the Vatican. The Pope was welcomed with a military ceremony at the palace entrance. Pope Francis greeted the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and listened to a band playing the Vatican hymn. After the presentation of both delegations, the Pope and the Crown Prince entered the palace for a private meeting.

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Pope at concluding Mass: 'Jesus is at our side when we are alone'

During the concluding Mass of his Apostolic Journey to the UAE on February 5, Pope Francis invited the region's Christians to live in peace and to remember that Jesus always walks by their side.

Pope Francis told the largely expat Catholic community living in the United Arab Emirates: "It is most certainly not easy for you to live far from home," he said, "missing the affection of your loved ones, and perhaps also feeling uncertainty about the future." But, the Pope said, "the Lord is faithful and does not abandon His people."


Parish Life in Abu Dhabi

Pope Francis visited St Joseph Cathedral in Abu Dhabi - one of two total Catholic churches for the Arabian city with a population of 1.42 million, during his visit to the UAE.

While few in number, parishes in the United Arab Emirates are remarkably diverse, and bring together Catholic traditions and devotions from across the Middle East, South Asia, and the rest of the universal Church. In St Joseph Cathedral, for example, Masses are celebrated in Arabic, English, French, Filipino, Malayalam, Sinhalese, Urdu, Tamil, Konkani, German, Italian, Korean, Polish and Ukrainian for its 100,000 expatriate parishioners.

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A nun who brings God to prostitutes

Sr Carla Venditti, a religious sister of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, has for several years now divided her time between the streets of Rome and the nearby region of Abruzzo, where she evangelises on the street and manages to save numerous young women from prostitution. The young women are brought to the Mother Clielia Oasis Center in Avezzano, Abruzzo, where they experience a path of spiritual and social rebirth, and learn a new profession.


Asia Bibi's acquittal upheld by Supreme Court

Pakistan's Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to the acquittal of Christian woman Asia Bibi on blasphemy charges. The country's top court upheld its decision to overturn Bibi's conviction and death sentence in October 2018. She was originally convicted in 2010 for allegedly insulting the Islamic prophet Mohammed during an argument with her neighbours.

Her acquittal in October set off violent protests across Pakistan, and hardliners submitted a petition for the Supreme Court to review its verdict. However, Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosardis dismissed the petition on January 29. Asia Bibi is currently in hiding in Pakistan.