Tens of thousands of Kenyans attended Pope Francis’ first public Mass in Africa. A lot of people had been there since 3am, braving heavy showers just to attend the Pope’s Mass. The celebration was marked by a small group of Kenyan singers and traditional dancers.
In his homily Pope Francis urged Kenyans to defend the unborn, protect family values and welcome children as a blessing. He asked the faithful to resist practices “which foster arrogance in men, hurt or demean women and threaten the life of the innocent unborn.”
“Kenyan society has long been blessed with strong family life, a deep respect for the wisdom of the elderly and love for children,” the Pope said.
“The health of any society depends on the health of its families.
“For their sake, and for the good of society, our faith in God’s word calls us to support families in their mission in society, to accept children as a blessing for our world, and to defend the dignity of each man and woman, for all of us are brothers and sisters in the one human family. We are called to respect and encourage one another, and to reach out to all those in need. Christian families have this special mission: to radiate God’s love, and to spread the life-giving waters of his Spirit. This is especially important today, for we are seeing the growth of new deserts created by a culture of materialism and indifference to others” he continued.
The Pope also emphasized the importance of baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist.
“We need these gifts of grace! Our world needs these gifts! Kenya needs these gifts! They strengthen us in fidelity amid adversity, when we seem to be walking ‘in the valley of the shadow of death’. But they also change our hearts. They make us more faithful disciples of the divine Master, vessels of mercy and loving kindness in a world wounded by selfishness, sin and division.”
Kenyan Nelly Ndunge aged 29 expressed gladness over the Pope’s visit. She said “I am a Catholic and I believe he is godsend.” She professed that her printing business has been positively affected by the Pope’s visit to Kenya as she has sold nearly 3,000 copies of a 2016 calendar with Pope Francis Portrait on the cover.
Pope Francis is to head later today to the UN regional headquarters in Nairobi to give a speech on the environment.