UAE announces holiday for private sector workers attending Pope Francis's Mass

February 5 will be a public holiday for private sector workers with tickets to the event

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Tuesday's public Mass by the Pope will be a public holiday — for private sector workers with tickets for the event.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation said the decision was made to grant employees working in the private sector the opportunity to take part in the Mass.

"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," a ministry announcement said. This is a first visit by a Pope to the Gulf region and historic by nature.

After arriving late on February 3, the Pope will pay a visit the following day to the Presidential Palace to meet Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.

Later that day, he will join Sheikh Ahmed Al Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, and other members of the Muslim Council of Elders at the Grand Mosque in a landmark moment for inter-faith relations. Another inter-faith meeting at the Founder's Memorial will round off the day.

On Tuesday the 5th, the pontiff will begin the day with a private visit to St Joseph's Cathedral in Abu Dhabi, before holding the public mass at Zayed Sports City from 10.30am.

It is expected that thousands of people, without tickets, will be tuning in to watch the live stream of the event.