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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 February 2019

Number of tickets for Abu Dhabi public mass increased

More UAE Catholics to be given the chance to take part in landmark visit

Pope Francis will arrive in the UAE next month. EPA
Pope Francis will arrive in the UAE next month. EPA

The capacity for Pope Francis' public Mass in Abu Dhabi next month has been increased from 120,000 to 135,000.

The ceremony will take place at 10.30am on February 5 and space has been allocated both inside and outside Zayed Sports City Stadium.

With almost a million Catholics in the UAE, just over one in ten will be granted the opportunity to see the Holy See in person. Registration closed earlier this week.

No information was available on how many people are expected to arrive without a ticket, but the proceedings will be broadcast live and shown at churches.

Earlier this month, the Catholic Church's most senior figure in the Gulf, Bishop Paul Hinder, Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia, warned that many worshippers are expected to miss out on seeing the Pope first-hand, as demand was expected to significantly outweigh the supply of tickets.

But on Wednesday church officials said that about 125,000 UAE residents have registered with their parish church for tickets and 5,000 had registered for a "very limited" number of tickets available for those outside the GCC.

Travel restrictions will be in place on the day, with organisers saying that no private vehicles will be permitted to enter Abu Dhabi Island.

Hundreds of free buses will be provided by the Abu Dhabi government for those attending the Mass, as authorities prepare for a major security and logistical operation.

Those with a ticket, which are being allocated to members of the Church by local parishes, will be instructed to travel to "access hubs" across the UAE. They will then be taken by bus to the stadium.

A date is yet to be set for when the tickets will be available for collection.

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Read more:

The Pope's visit: The story of the Roman Catholic Church in the UAE

Pope Francis to make landmark visit to UAE

Updated: January 28, 2019 10:49 AM

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