RIFFA, Bahrain — About 30,000 flag-waving worshippers joined an open-air mass held by Pope Francis in mainly Muslim Bahrain on Saturday, the highlight of his outreach mission to the Gulf.
Marco BERTORELLO / AFP
Some of the congregation had tears in their eyes as they waited to see the 85-year-old at Bahrain National Stadium, the kingdom’s biggest venue.
Francis, who uses a wheelchair and walking stick due to knee problems, smiled and waved to the crowds from an open-sided popemobile where he was seated, flanked by more than a dozen suited security guards and attendants.
As a 100-strong, multinational choir sang in multiple languages, the Argentine stood to kiss children lifted up to greet him in the specially adapted vehicle, which drove slowly towards a white stage backdropped by a giant gold cross.
“This very land is a living imag