The Apostolic Nuncio to the United Arab Emirates, Archbishop Francisco Montecillo Padilla, boarded the papal plane upon landing to welcome the Pope as he arrived in the United Arab Emirates for his Apostolic Visit.
Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan greeted the Pope as he stepped off the plane and onto Emirati soil.
As they entered the airport, children in traditional dress presented the Holy Father with a bouquet of flowers and welcomed him to the UAE in his native Spanish.
Pope Francis then greeted his old friend and ally in his quest to strengthen dialogue between East and West, the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayeb.
The Holy Father’s arrival marks the very first time a Pope has set foot on the Arabian Peninsula.
The theme of the historic visit is “Make me a channel of your peace”, and it carries with it an urgent appeal to the region and to the world to pursue values of peaceful coexistence and overcome prejudice and allegiance to divisive ideologies, sects, and political parties.
Like the dove carrying an olive branch on the journey’s official logo, Pope Francis sets foot in the Gulf region as a herald of peace with a message of hope for the future of mankind.