Pope Francis on Christmas2018
Pope Francis will visit the UAE from February 3 to 5 to attend an international interfaith meet. Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: Some 120,000 Catholics will be given the opportunity to attend the Holy High Mass by Pope Francis at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi on February 5 during his three-day visit while the rest may watch it live-streamed in all Catholic churches.

The Department of Communications of the UAE Papal Visit 2019 has released details on how residents can attend the much-anticipated Papal Mass in Abu Dhabi in February. But considering the limited number of seats at the Zayed Sports City, only 10 per cent of the one million Catholics in the UAE may be able to attend the mass live.


“Only a small number of our faithful (we have about one million Catholics in the UAE) can attend the Papal Mass,” the department said in an update on its official website. “The capacity of the venue inside Zayed Sports City Stadium and outside locations within Zayed Sports City, which is offered by the UAE government for the Papal Mass, is approximately 120,000. Tickets will be limited to this number.”

Entry to the mass will be ticketed to monitor the number of attendees but will be free of charge. All tickets will be printed and handed over by the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia (AVOSA) to the parishes by around January 20.

“Your cooperation and grace to make Pope Francis’ visit to the UAE a success is of utmost importance. All are requested to follow the guidelines offered by the UAE Government and the UAE Papal Visit Office.”

The department said majority of the tickets will be for the Catholic faithful of the AVOSA, a territorial jurisdiction of the Catholic Church covering the countries of the UAE, Oman and Yemen.

The Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia (AVONA), which covers Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, will also receive a quota of tickets.

After January 20, parishes will distribute tickets to various quotas within the parish as per the quota system.

“Parishes will list out all the main representations of the parish — by community, ministry, movements, etc. with the aim to ensure as much a broad representation as possible. Stay tuned to your parish websites for announcements regarding ticket distribution within the parish,” the organisers said.

Those requiring special assistance on the day of the mass itself should inform their respective parishes at the time of registration so they could facilitate as much as possible.

Organisers urged Catholics to take caution against anyone offering tickets for sale or offering tickets through unauthorised channels. They also encouraged them to seek information only from the official channels assigned for the Papal visit such as the www.uaepapalvisit.org or the official social channels of the Vicariate (@avosarabia on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).

Fast facts:

1) When and where will the Papal Mass be held?

At 10.30am at Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi

2) How many can attend the mass?

Only 120,000 tickets will be printed and distributed to the AVOSA and AVONA. Tickets will reach parishes by around January 20.

3) How can I get a ticket? Do I have to pay?

Parishes will determine who can represent the church to the mass and it will be by community, ministry, movements, etc. All tickets are FREE.

4) How can I get to the venue?

Transportation details will be announced by the parishes on the day of the distribution of tickets.

5) What if I am not a UAE resident and I want to attend?

A very limited number of tickets will be available for residents of countries outside the GCC. Details of the process will be announced soon.

6) What if I don’t get a ticket? How can I watch the mass?

 The Papal Mass will be live-streamed in all parishes and on the papal visit website, www.uaepapalvisit.org