Pope Francis will make a historic trip to the United Arab Emirates next year.
The Pope will visit Abu Dhabi from Feb. 3-5. On Thursday, the Vatican said Francis accepted invitations from the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and the Catholic Church in the United Arab Emirates.
Francis' visit will make him the first Catholic pontiff to visit the Arabian Peninsula.
Holy See Press Office Director Greg Burke says the visit is to show the importance of "inter-religious dialogue." Burke says the Pope is to show, "How all people of goodwill can work for peace."
The Crown Prince said in a statement he is looking forward to speaking with the Pope on "the peaceful coexistence among peoples."
A public mass is scheduled in Abu Dhabi on the last day of his visit. Bishop Paul Hinder, head of the Roman Catholic Arabian Vicariate of Southern Arabia, said he was thankful the UAE government agreed to give the Catholic Church a venue to celebrate mass with the Pope.