The UAE has announced that private sector workers who are attending the Papal mass on Tuesday, February 5, will be given the day off.
The ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation said that the holiday will apply to private sector employees holding permits to participate in the mass, which will take place at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi.
“The announcement is being made as part of a commitment to grant employees in the private sector the opportunity to take part in the event. The holiday for permit holders underlines the UAE’s commitment to acceptance and open-mindedness during the Year of Tolerance, and its ongoing dedication to facilitating interfaith dialogue,” the ministry said in a statement.
Pope Francis is set to arrive in the UAE for a landmark, three-day visit from February 3 to 5, marking the first time a Pope has ever come to the GCC.
The Pope’s visit to the UAE comes after an invitation was extended by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, during his visit to the Vatican in 2016.
An estimated 120,000 people are expected to attend the mass in person and tickets are being distributed to several churches in the UAE, which is home to nearly a million Catholics.
The event will also be live streamed and broadcast in churches across country, the papal visit website as well as on the Vatican’s YouTube channel.