Thousands Wait In Rain To Celebrate Mass With Pope Francis

Thousands Wait In Rain To Celebrate Mass With Pope Francis

Thousands of Kenyans waited in the rain to celebrate Mass with Pope Francis at the University of Nairobi campus in Kenya.

The BBC reports that crowds in the capital, Nairobi, waited at the sports ground of the school since the early hours of Thursday morning.

Pope Francis who was wearing a robe embroidered to look like beads worn by the Maasai, told the gathering that: "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."

The Pope urged Kenyans to work for peace and reconciliation amid the rise in militant violence, while appealing to them to uphold their traditional values, saying "the health of any society depends on the health of its families".

He also spoke about abortion and the need for a caring society: "We are also called to resist practices which foster arrogance in men, hurt or demean women, and threaten the life of the innocent unborn."

He further appealed to young Kenyans "to shape a society which is ever more just, inclusive and respectful of human dignity". He said they "should reject everything that leads to prejudice and discrimination".

Before the Mass, Pope Francis met with religious leaders from other faiths and other Christian denominations, who he admonished to be "prophets of peace" in a violent and hate-driven world.

Referring to attacks carried out by the militant Islamist group al-Shabab in Kenya, he said that God's name "must never be used to justify hatred and violence".

The Pope earlier said conflict and terrorism fed "on fear, mistrust, and the despair born of poverty and frustration". A leading Muslim cleric in Kenya welcomed the visit, saying it gave hope to the "downtrodden in the slums".

The BBC reports that, Pope Francis in his speech on Wednesday also made a veiled reference to corruption by calling on leaders to work with integrity and transparency. The Pope’s visit in Kenya,  is his first stop on  a three-nation tour and his first trip as a pontiff and the BBC report that there was tight security for the Mass, but the pontiff played down security fears, joking that he was "more worried about the mosquitoes".




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