, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 1 — President Uhuru Kenyatta, Cardinal John Njue and as yet unknown Kenyan family will be at hand to receive Pope Francis when he lands in Kenya.
It’s customary for a representative of the Kenyan people to present flowers in welcome to dignitaries when they set foot on Kenyan soil but in many cases it’s usually a child.
In US President Obama’s case it was an orphan girl.
But State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu said the choice of a family was reflective of the spirit of the Pope’s visit to Kenya which is themed around inclusivity and tolerance.
“The family reception is a symbol of our shared values that this unit is the bedrock of inculcating values in our society,” he said.
In the spirit of tolerance, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops in a joint briefing with Esipisu called on the political class to put aside their differences and join the rest of Kenya in readying themselves spiritually for Pope Francis’ Apostolic Voyage to Africa which he begins in Nairobi.
“Join together and humbly seek redemption,” Bishop Alfred Rotich urged.
“Our nation is facing great trials that threaten to tear it apart. The recent political name calling, ethnic incitement, lack of good taste on expected decorum by our leaders who were elected to steer us to unity and peace is worrying.
“The people of Kenya already have to contend with many afflictions such as the escalating economic challenges of modern day living,” he said.
In demonstration of inclusivity and tolerance, the first order of business for the Pope — aside from holding the customary bi-lateral talks with the Head of State — will be a meeting with religious leaders drawn from different faiths.
During his visit, the Pope will also be addressing the challenges of poverty and will visit a project in Kangemi aimed at giving hope to those who populate the informal settlement.
In furtherance of his campaign to get a global commitment on climate change, he will also address diplomats at the United Nations headquarters in Nairobi before meeting youth at Kasarani and making his way onto Uganda for the second leg of his apostolic voyage to Africa.