More than 20,000 register to attend Pope Francis's Bahrain Mass

Information released on food and transport for thousands set to attend prayers led by the pontiff on November 5

Pope Francis’s Bahrain visit is a historic event. It is the second time he has come to the Gulf in three years. Reuters
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More than 20,000 people have registered to attend Pope Francis's public Mass during his landmark tour of Bahrain next week.

Church authorities have said that while the registration system remains open, they cannot guarantee seats after the October 25 noon deadline passed.

More than 17,000 people have registered from Bahrain, the number for Saudi Arabia is 2,900, Kuwait 470, Qatar 144, UAE and Oman 191 and 433 from other countries.

Tickets will be issued later for the 28,000 capacity Bahrain National Stadium, the venue for the public Mass on November 5.

“For the present, we are unable to guarantee seats for registrations that are made after the deadline,” John E John, director of communications at the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia, which covers the UAE, Oman and Yemen, told The National.

“We will continue to upload data as long as the system is open. If their data upload is successful, participants will be notified on email and receive an invitation for applying for a ticket.”

First buses leave at 3am

Updates have been released on security and transport arrangements as tens of thousands people prepare to attend Pope Francis' landmark Mass in Bahrain next week.

It will be an early start. The first buses will leave the Bahrain International Circuit at 3am, where attendees have been asked to assemble more than five hours before the public Mass begins at the Bahrain International Stadium at 8.30am on Saturday, November 5.

The stadium gates will be shut at 7am, organisers said on Thursday.

The sprawling Bahrain International Circuit in the Sakhir desert hosts Formula One grands prix and organisers are confident the venue can handle the transition of people from the motorsports arena into the stadium where the Mass will be held.

People with tickets for the Mass, except the elderly and people with special needs, can drive or take a taxi to the Bahrain International Circuit that has sufficient parking spaces to accommodate a large number of vehicles.

Security counters will open at 2am at the circuit. Organisers have asked people to get there on time to complete security checks.

The elderly, people with special needs and caregivers will gather at the polytechnic parking near the Bahrain Polytechnic, located about three kilometres north of the stadium.

Special buses will transport them to a designated area in the stadium after security procedures are complete.

Those with VIP tickets must also head to the polytechnic parking where shuttle buses will take them to the venue.

Everyone attending the Mass, including infants, children, elderly, people with special needs and their caregivers, must carry valid tickets and national identity cards or passports used for registration.

Organisers have recommended people carry a printout of the ticket.

People can carry small quantities of food and will find light refreshments placed at their seats.

List of banned items for gathering

A list of prohibited items has been published. Lighters, matches, any smoking or lighting equipment, sharp objects that could be used as a weapon, fireworks or flares, alcoholic beverages and narcotics are all banned.

Megaphones, noisy instruments such as the vuvuzela are not allowed. Strollers, laser pointers, large quantities of confetti and balloons are also banned.

Professional cameras are not allowed, except cameras for private use with only one set of rechargeable batteries. Video cameras and sound or video recording equipment are not permitted.

Computers and devices that can be used to transmit sound and photos via the internet are also prohibited.

The Mass will be held on the second day of the Pope’s visit, that begins on November 3.

E-visa details

To obtain an e-visa, people from overseas must upload the Papal Mass ticket, a copy of their passport, give information on return ticket and hotel booking at the website www.evisa.gov.bh

These details must be filled in: purpose of visit: tourism; detailed purpose: other; description of purpose of visit: Papal Mass

Payment for the Visit Visa (GCC) 2 weeks single entry can be done online. For more information the helpline number is: 17077077

The Pope will speak at the Bahrain Forum for Dialogue on November 4 and meet the Muslim Council of Elders the same day.

He will also speak to priests, bishops and parish workers at two churches — the Sacred Heart Church in Manama, the oldest in the Gulf, and the Lady of Arabia Cathedral, the largest in the region.

Pope Francis’s visit is a historic event, being the second time he has visited the Gulf in three years, and is a landmark event for an island which is home to 80,000 Catholics.

Pope Francis embarked on a historic three-day visit to the UAE in February 2019, the first made by a leader of the Roman Catholic Church to the Arabian Peninsula.

More than 150,000 gathered for Mass in Abu Dhabi as the pontiff blessed the congregation and sent out a message of peace.

Tens of thousands of people queued up overnight at free transport centres across Dubai to travel to the capital for the Mass.

UAE looks forward to Pope Francis' Bahrain tour - in pictures

Updated: October 28, 2022, 7:13 AM
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