SAT-7, 27 April 2017
Egyptian Christians look forward to welcoming Pope Francis to their country this Friday 28 April with eager anticipation, says SAT-7 Arabic Channels Programme Director, George Makeen.
“With the current developments in Egypt and several attacks on Christian churches and properties, this visit is very important to Christians and to others too,” Makeen said.
The recent incidents in Egypt have caused unrest and confusion in the country’s Christian community. Christians are uncertain and have conflicting views on how to respond to such challenges and threats.
A visit that brings hope
“For Christians, the Roman Catholic Pope’s visit to Egypt shows solidarity and support in such difficult times,” Makeen said. “After witnessing atrocities against Christians elsewhere in the region, an escalation of brutal attacks on congregations and on individuals have left local Christians in fear and concerned about their future presence in Egypt.”
“The Pope’s visit is important for all Egyptians, not only Christians,” Makeen stressed. “For all Egyptians, this visit means a lot in times where people are concerned about visiting the country and consider it a risky place. A visit from such an important leader sends a different message.
“While his message of peace, and building bridges, reminds every one of the core message of our Christian faith, we pray it will also encourage people to learn about each other and approach each other instead of letting fear and prejudice divide us.”
Over the two days of the Papal visit (28-29 April), SAT-7 will broadcast coverage through four special live episodes of its Bridges current affairs programme. On Friday, the Pope will meet with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, the Grand Sheikh of Al Azhar, Egypt’s leading Islamic institution, and Pope Tawadros ll of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Pope Tawadros will accompany the Pontiff on a visit to the “martyr’s wall” at St Peter’s Church, where the bodies of 29 Christians killed in a suicide bombing in December were laid.
On Saturday Pope Francis will lead open-air prayers for over 20,000 members of Egypt’s various Catholic communities – Catholic Coptic, Armenian, Maronite and Greek Catholics. This will be followed by a meeting with Egyptian Catholic church leaders in the theological institute in El Maadi.
SAT-7 Egypt has received permission to cover these interviews, although it is still to be confirmed whether they will be free to go live or will air them later in the evening on Saturday.
The coverage of the Pope’s visit will include a long list of interviews with journalists, analysts, theologians and church leaders of different denominations, as well as leaders of different faiths, in the studios of SAT-7 Egypt, and through phone and skype calls.
SAT-7 has also acquired from Rome two documentaries about Pope Francis, Francis: The People’s Pope and Pope Francis In His Own Words. The SAT-7 team will dub these documentaries and air them on SAT-7 ARABIC in the five days following the Pope’s visit.