ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE — Pope Francis has praised the courage of a young girl who broke through police barricades in Abu Dhabi to hand-deliver a letter to him.

Francis was being driven around the city’s sports stadium in his pope mobile before Mass when the child dashed from the crowd so quickly that police couldn’t catch her.

“This child has a future!” Francis told reporters en route home Tuesday. “I liked that. You have to have courage to do that.” He laughed and added: “Dare I say, ‘Her poor husband …'”

The Mass at Zayed Sports City Stadium, named for the UAE’s founding father, drew Catholics from 100 countries, reflecting a range of nationalities drawn to the Emirates and its promise of jobs, safety and tolerance.