POPE FRANCIS’ VISIT TO ENCOURAGE EGYPTIANS
“After the several attacks on the Christian community in Egypt over the past few months, this visit is very important to all Egyptians,” says George Makeen, Program Director of SAT-7’s Arabic Channels.
Following the church bombings in Tanta and Alexandria on Palm Sunday, a three-month state of emergency was declared in Egypt. H.H Pope Tawadros II of the Coptic Orthodox Church issued a statement after the attacks saying, “these acts will not harm the unity and cohesion of the people”. However, many Egyptian Christians remain fearful and restless.
SOLIDARITY AND SUPPORT
“For Christians, Pope Francis’ visit to Egypt shows solidarity and support in such difficult times,” says Makeen. He explains how the various incidents that have been occurring lately in Egypt have affected the Christians of the region.
“From bombing churches and communities to brutal attacks on individual Christians, these incidents have left local believers in fear and apprehension about their futures. They are uneasy about their presence in Egypt, and the general Christian presence in the region,” says Makeen.
COMMUNICATING A DIFFERENT MESSAGE
“Pope Francis’ visit is important for all Egyptians, not only Christians,” Makeen explains.
“His presence is significant and influential during these days: people are concerned about visiting the country and consider it a high risk. A visit from such a prominent leader communicates a different message. His encouragement to rebuild bridges with peace is a reminder of the core value of our Christian faith.”
SPECIAL LIVE EPISODES ON SAT-7
SAT-7 will be broadcasting Pope Francis’ two-day visit through four special live episodes of current affairs program, Bridges.
On Friday, Pope Francis will meet with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, the Grand Sheikh of Al Azhar, and Pope Tawadros. 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 El Maadi’s theological institute.
INFORMING AND UNITING
SAT-7’s coverage of the Pope’s visit will include interviews with journalists, analysts, theologians, and church leaders of different denominations, as well as leaders of various faiths, in the Egypt studios. SAT-7 has also acquired two documentaries about Pope Francis to dub and air on SAT-7 ARABIC after his visit.
“We pray these episodes will inspire people to take the initiative and learn more about one another instead of allowing fear and prejudice to separate us,” says Makeen.