VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis will travel to Bahrain in November to press his message of dialogue with the Muslim world, the first pope to visit the country the Vatican said Wednesday.
Bahrain is home to the Gulf’s first Catholic Church, located in the capital Manama, as well as its biggest one, Our Lady of Arabia Cathedral, which opened last year in the desert town of Awali.
Francis is due to visit both cities during the Nov. 3-6 visit. The Vatican said he will take part in a conference called the “Bahrain Forum for Dialogue: East and West for Human Coexistence.”
Francis, 85, has made dialogue with the Muslim world a hallmark of his papacy. He recently returned from a visit to majority Muslim Kazakhstan, where he took part in an interfaith summit.
In 2019, Francis became the first pope to visit the Gulf with a trip to Abu Dhabi. There he signed a landmark document with the chief imam of the al-Azhar in Cairo, the seat of Sunni learning, pledging Catholic-Muslim cooperation to work for peace.