Pope Francis arrives in Kenya on first trip to Africa

NAIROBI, Kenya,  Pope Francis arrived in Kenya on Wednesday for his first visit to Africa as Pope, where he will make stops in Uganda and the Central African Republic.

Pope Francis is greeted by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Photo courtesy of first lady of Kenya Margaret Gakuo Kenyatta
Pope Francis is greeted by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Photo courtesy of first lady of Kenya Margaret Gakuo Kenyatta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and a large, ululating crowd welcomed Francis at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The pope will later attend a formal ceremony with diplomats and Kenyan government officials at the State House — the official residence of the Kenyan president.

Ahead of his five-day visit, Francis called for peace and said conflict and terrorism “feed on fear, mistrust, and the despair born of poverty and frustration.” He previously played down security concerns by stating he was “more worried about the mosquitoes.”

On Thursday, the pope will meet with inter-religious and ecumenical representativesat an apostolic nunciature in Nairobi, where he will deliver a speech. Francis will later hold mass at the University of Nairobi, where he will deliver a homily. About a million people are expected to attend.

He will then meet with priests, members of religious orders and seminarians on an athletic field at St. Mary’s School, where he will deliver another speech. The pope will end his day with a visit to the United Nations office in Nairobi.

Kenya said up to 10,000 police officers may be deployed during Francis’ visit. The pope will speak out against corruption, poverty and religious conflict.

A sixth of the world’s Catholics are African. There will be an estimated 1.1 billion Christians and 670 million Muslims in sub-Saharan Africa by 2050.

By Andrew V. Pestano

UPI