POPE: “JOYFUL” TO BE IN LAND WHERE “VERY DIFFERENT REALITIES” CO-EXIST
Pope Francis departed Rome this morning for Bahrain on his 39th foreign apostolic trip. During his visit, he will address the Bahrain Forum for Dialogue, a conference that will focus on the theme “East and West for Human Coexistence.”
Boarding the ITA flight to Bahrain:
At the Angelus on November 1, All Saints Day, Pope Francis had invited the faithful to pray for his November 3 to 6 Apostolic Journey to Bahrain so that “every meeting and event might be a fruitful opportunity to promote, in the name of God, the cause of fraternity and peace which our times so desperately and urgently need.’ The Holy Father added that during his trip he will ‘have the opportunity to engage with religious representatives, particularly Islamic.’ ‘
Before leaving for the airport this morning, Pope Francis met with three Ukrainian refugee families hosted by Italian families at Casa Santa Marta. One of them is the wife of an Orthodox priest, along with her two children aged 18 and 14. Her husband and adult son have remained behind in Ukraine. The second family is a 30-year-old mother with two daughters aged 4 and 7, who fled the partially occupied city and region of Zaporizhzhia; while the third family is a 53-year-old woman with a severely disabled 13-year-old son and a 73-year-old mother from Kyiv. They were accompanied by the papal almoner, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski.
Once on the plane, due to knee pain, the Pope did not make the usual rounds among the journalists on the papal flight, but instead asked them to come up for a greeting. One by one the reporters and cameramen accompanying him on the trip then went to greet the Pontiff, who thanked them for their company and work. The visit to Bahrain, Francis added, is “an interesting trip” from which “good news” can emerge.
On his arrival at 4:45 local time, the Pope made a courtesy visit to King Hamad at the Sakhir Royal Palace and met with Bahrain’s authorities, civil society, and diplomatic corps.
“I express my deep gratitude,” said Francis, “to His Majesty for his invitation to visit the Kingdom of Bahrain, his warm and gracious welcome and his kind words. I greet you all most cordially. I would like to address a word of friendship and affection to everyone living in this country: to each believer and individual and to the members of every family, which the Constitution of Bahrain defines as ‘the basis of society’.
“To all I express my joy to be in your midst. Here, where the waters of the sea surround the sands of the desert, and imposing skyscrapers rise beside traditional Oriental markets, very different realities come together: ancient and modern converge; tradition and progress mix; and above all, people from various backgrounds create a distinctive mosaic of life.”
Tomorrow, November 4, the Holy Father is scheduled to attend the closing session of the Bahrain Forum for Dialogue. He’ll also meet privately with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and hold an audience with the members of the Muslim Council of Elders. Later, he will hold an ecumenical meeting and prayer for peace in the Our Lady of Arabia Cathedral in Awali. (source: Vatican news)