, NAIROBI, Kenya Nov 7 – A dinner organised by the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops to raise funds for the papal visit on Friday night raised Sh124.5 million.
Former President Mwai Kibaki who was the chief guest gave Sh5 million while President Uhuru Kenyatta donated Sh10 million towards the kitty which will be used to set up a service delivery activity in honour of the Pope.
The former President noted that the Papal visit gives Kenyans an opportunity to reflect on the seamless integration of spiritual and human welfare as it gives a chance to appreciate how service to humanity and common good enhance the collective purpose.
He added that besides being one of the three countries privileged to host the Holy Father in his maiden visit to Africa, Kenya will be his first stop thus affirming her position as a gateway to Africa.
Kibaki said: “Kenyans sometimes take our shared nature and character for granted. Perhaps we do not fully appreciate our ability to pick ourselves up and walk again whenever we trip. Yet this is the attribute that makes us special.”
“This exceptional visit by Pope Francis presents us with a unique opportunity to appreciate our country, region and continent afresh. This is an opportunity to appreciate our motherland and reaffirm our common destiny.”
“I am glad that, during his notable visit to Africa, Pope Francis will meet and mingle with believers of varied faiths. This is a classic demonstration of how we must embrace the spirit of gracious coexistence to qualify for God’s bountiful blessings,” the former President added.
John Cardinal Njue, described the visit as a “real blessing” for the Church and the nation. Adding that Kenyans will have an opportunity to reflect on the Pope’s aspirations of selflessness, attention to the poor and the environment.
This will be the first time that Pope Francis has set foot in Africa since he took leadership of the Catholic Church in 2013.
The Catholic bishops say the Pope’s message will focus on hope, unity and reconciliation amid terror attacks and threats.
More than one million pilgrims are expected in Nairobi from November 25th 2015.
Plans for a special dress code for the over 60 catholic bishops, over 2,000 priests and close to 10,000 religious priests, brothers and sisters are already ongoing.
Pope Francis’ visit to Kenya will be the third papal visit after Pope John Paul visited the country in 1978 and 1995.
Pope Francis will proceed to Uganda after leaving Nairobi.