Pope Francis will begin a four-day trip to Bahrain on Thursday, his second official visit to the Gulf after visiting the UAE in 2019.
On Saturday morning, he is expected to lead a public Mass at the Bahrain National Stadium and will meet church workers at the Sacred Heart Church in Manama, the country’s oldest.
On Friday, he will meet Dr Ahmed Al Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al Azhar and address a gathering of the Muslim Council of Elders.
There are about 80,000 Catholics in Bahrain, making up one of the Gulf states with a significant local Christian population. More than 1,500 of them are Bahraini citizens.
This trip marks Pope Francis’s second visit to the Gulf since he went to the UAE in 2019. Several visits to the Middle East were made by his predecessors.
More than 20,000 people have signed up to attend Pope Francis’s open celebration during his visit to Bahrain next week.
After October 25 at noon, church authorities said that they could not guarantee seats, since the registration system remained open.
Later, the 28,000-seat Bahrain National Stadium will be ticketed for the public mass on November 5.
Image Credit: AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko