The first ever visit of a Pope to the Arabian peninsula culminated on Tuesday with the open-air papal mass at a stadium in Abu Dhabi.
As many as 135,000 Catholics attended the mass on Tuesday, which was the highlight of the historic trip of Pope Francis to the United Arab Emirates. The Pope exhorted the faithful to promote peace in the region.
"It is my hope that you will be like this, rooted in Jesus and ready to do good to those around you. May your communities be oases of peace," the pontiff, who arrived in Abu Dhabi on Sunday on a three-day trip, told over 120,000 worshippers, mostly migrants, at the Zayed Sports City Stadium.
"It is most certainly not easy for you to live far from home, missing the affection of your loved ones, and perhaps also feeling uncertainty about the future... But the Lord is faithful and does not abandon his people," the Pope said.
An altar with a large cross was set up for the open-air service at the Abu Dhabi stadium. Before the Catholic pontiff arrived, crowds waving Vatican flags and Papal banners thronged the streets, chanting "Viva il Papa" and "We love you".
The Pope, who is on a three-day visit to the Emirates, said the Christians living in the country should thank UAE for "the way in which you live the Gospel we heard."
The Catholic mass on Tuesday was the biggest ever show of public Christian worship in the region dominated by Muslim faith.
In his speeches in the UAE the Pope underscored religious harmony and peace, and exhorted Christians and Muslims to work together for communal and political accord in the region. The pontiff said the communities should strive for ending war, injustice and inequality.
On Monday, the Pope addressed representatives from different faiths at an inter-religious meeting in Abu Dhabi. One of the main leaders who attended the meeting was Ahmed al-Tayyeb, Egypt's Grand Imam of al-Azhar.
'Children that are hungry, thirsty'
The Human Rights Watch (HRW) had urged the Pope to use his visit to the UAE to highlight the alleged rights abuses happening in the country as well as the war in Yemen that's killed thousands of innocent people.
The Pope did not directly refer to the war in Yemen in his speeches in UAE but had issued a public plea for peace in Yemen before he left the Vatican on Sunday.
The CNN reported that the Pope referred to the suffering of people in war torn regions during a speech. "Let us pray loudly because there are children that are hungry, are thirsty, don't have medicine and their lives are in danger," the Pope said in off-the-cuff remarks. "God is with those who seek peace," he said, highlighting the conflicts.