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Pope Francis Kicks Off First Visit To Africa In Kenya

November 25, 2015

Thousands of ebullient Kenyans greeted Pope Francis upon his arrival to the country on Wednesday.


According to the New York Times, the Pope departed from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in a Honda in stark contrast to the fleet of black Mercedes which carried various Kenyan officials.

Pope Francis’ arrival kicks off his five-day visit to Africa, his first since becoming Pope.  In addition to Kenya, the Pope is scheduled to visit Uganda and the Central African Republic.  Upon his arrival in Kenya, he advocated for peace noting that conflict and terrorism "feed on fear, mistrust, and the despair born of poverty and frustration".  

The East African nation is no stranger to terrorism, in July 150 people were killed by Al-Shabab militants during an attack upon the University of Garissa.  Kenyan military forces are currently fighting the group in Somalia.

The Kenyan newspaper the Daily Nation reported that Pope Francis is scheduled to hold a mass at the University of Nairobi. More than one million people are expected to attend.  

According to the Standard, roughly 30% of the Kenyan population is Catholic, although people practicing a wide variety of faiths were present to greet the Pope.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta hosted Pope Francis at a State Function. During the function, the Pope spoke about the need for healing between Muslim and Christians as well as the danger posed by climate change.

According to the BBC, Pope Francis will host an inter-faith meeting on Thursday.  Speaking to BBC the Vice-Chairman of the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims, Abdalla Kwamana, described the visit as “extremely significant”.  Mr. Kwamana went on to praise the Pope’s efforts to promote reconciliation between Muslims and Christians.