Almost 1,000 buses to transport Dubai faithful to Abu Dhabi Papal Mass

Buses will leave from four hubs across the emirate

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES -People queuing for the Pope merchandise at St. Mary's Catholic Church, Oud Mehta.  Leslie Pableo for The National for Patrick Ryan's story

Almost 1,000 buses will transport the faithful from Dubai to Abu Dhabi for the Mass being said by Pope Francis next week.

Father Lennie Connully, Parish Priest at St Mary’s Catholic Church Dubai, said the buses would be leaving from four hubs, in Al Nada, Al Qusais Bond Park, Wonderland and Safa Park, on Monday night.

“They will start leaving at 11pm and will be staggered until 3.15am,” he said.

Some 400 buses will leave from Safa Park, 275 from Wonderland, 160 from Al Nada and 16 from Al Qusais — all headed for Zayed Sports City Stadium.

“Anyone who has a ticket for the Mass is also entitled to a free seat on a bus to the Mass,” said Father Lennie, from India.

“The hub closes at 3.15am, so people will arrive at the stadium in Abu Dhabi very early.”

Mass is due to start at 11am with gates opening at 5am.

On Tuesday, organisers urged people to bring their own food and beverages for the trip.

About 135,000 people are expected to attend the event.

Father Lennie said the Pope’s visit, the first to the GCC, would have a positive effect on the region.

“Pope Francis always creates an impact wherever he goes,” he said.

“He is a great builder of relationships and has great respect for other religions.”

Father Lennie said he expected to see an increase in the number of parishioners experiencing a renewal of their personal faith due to the Papal visit.