, THE VATICAN, Italy, Nov 25 – Two priests would have wanted to be in Kenya this week; but they’ll be pursing their studies in the Vatican as Pope Francis goes on his maiden trip to Africa, and more significantly Nairobi.
Father Boniface Mungai from the Archdiocese of Mombasa has been pursuing studies in church history and is in his fifth year.
He hopes to return to help build the Kenyan nation next year.
“It’s a great honour for our country. We shall have him visit Kenya as the first country in Africa. Kenya has undergone difficult times due to terrorism and tribal conflict and this visit is timely,” Father Mungai told Capital FM News at the Vatican, hours before Pope Francis embarked on his tour.
He feels the visit is timely since the Pope brings good news of reconciliation, forgiveness and hope.
“It’s good to note that the 25th of November marks one year from the time he took the shortest trip to France where addressed the EU Parliament… his coming to Kenya is also putting the country on the global map. It makes us more proud of our country.”
Father Arnold Ototo on the other hand is studying communication in Rome and after finishing his Masters Degree next year, expects to immediately start his PhD studies.
Next year, he hopes to visit his homeland.
When we arrived in the Rome, we met him after recommendation by a Kenyan colleague; he offered to help us get around.
At some point, we asked if he could recommend a restaurant near the Vatican where we could grab a meal.
Interestingly, the restaurant he led us to is nicknamed ‘kwa kadogo’… but why kwa kadogo? “because the lady who runs it is tiny,” he told us.
“When she was told what it means, she embraced the name on learning that it implies staying young always.” The name was given to her some 10 years ago by a Kenyan.
Apart from recommending we visit to ‘kwa kadogo’ he took us to the heart of the Vatican – St Peter’s Square.
Father Ototo would have longed to be in Kenya during the visit by Pope Francis – he personally met the Pope last year with Kenyan Bishops.
“It will be a moment of joy and I would have wanted to be there with him. If I was at home I would have said it’s time to give the Pope bananas or ugali to eat.”
He says meeting the Pope is an honour of a lifetime. “Once you get the chance of meeting him, you feel like even if were in a state of sin, you get renewed… I will change my life and become more committed to this faith.”