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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 February 2019

Pope Francis says Mary was the world's first 'influencer'

The pontiff made his remarks during a vigil in Panama to mark World Youth Day

Pope Francis praised Hanan Al Hroub for helping pupils to learn the 'joy of life'. 
Pope Francis praised Hanan Al Hroub for helping pupils to learn the 'joy of life'. 

Pope Francis has said that Mary was the world's first "influencer", as he addressed thousands who gathered during his four-hour-long prayer vigil in Panama to mark World Youth Day on Saturday.

He also shared the remarks with his 18 million followers on Twitter.

"With her 'yes', Mary became the most influential woman in history," the pontiff wrote. "Without social networks, she became the first 'influencer': the 'influencer' of God."

The Vatican has announced its next official World Youth Day visit will be to Lisbon, Portugal in 2022.

Pope Francis is in Panama for World Youth Day. REUTERS
Pope Francis is in Panama for World Youth Day. REUTERS

The Pope's UAE visit

The head of the Catholic Church is coming to the UAE for the first time next month, when he will host mass, in what will be a milestone moment for interfaith relations.

There are thought to be about one million Catholics in the Emirates.

Paul Hinder, Catholic Bishop to Southern Arabia said the visit will be "a step forward in the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Muslim world".

The mass will be held at Zayed Sports City on Tuesday, February 5 at 10.30am.

The Pope is scheduled to land in the capital on February 3, where he will be welcomed by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.

He will visit St Joseph's Catholic church, host a public mass for 135,000 people, and the two leaders are expected to discuss human fraternity and peace, as well as tolerance between religions.

Updated: January 28, 2019 12:46 PM

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