Pope leaves Kenyans with a message of encouragement and hope

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Pope Francis waving to crowds in Kenya

Pope leaves Kenyans with a message of encouragement and hope

By Linda Bordoni in Nairobi

Pope Francis has concluded the first leg of his Apostolic Journey to Africa, travelling from Kenya to Uganda on Friday, November 27. The Holy Father will conclude his first visit to Africa with a stop in the Central African Republic, where he will arrive Sunday,November 29, before returning to Rome the next day.

What will we remember most of Pope Francis’ visit after his farewell to the Kenyan people at Nairobi airport?
Of course his repeated appeals to authorities and policy-makers to bridge the gap between rich and poor, to protect African women and to nurture the youth, his urgent call to step up the war on climate change, his plea for unity between different faiths in the fight against terrorism.

But more than that, Kenyans say they will remember how his words and his gestures touched them personally and individually.
That’s because, for whom he is and in virtue of his very special human touch, Pope Francis never spoke to the people from a pedestal; he listened to what they were saying and responded with the understanding and sensitivity of a person who really cares for the life and the story of each individual.

A Kenyan teacher I spoke to at the end of the visit on Friday told me the people in Kangemi slum felt so blessed – yes, that’s a word they use a lot here in Kenya – because they did not even have to go to see him, he came to them.

So, I think what people here will remember most will be the fact that Francis brought joy and prayer, he shared their sorrows, their troubles and their hopes, he visibly enjoyed their great dancing, singing and sense of rhythm, he thanked them for welcoming him and told them he felt very much at home.

And in a country where corruption and collusion are seen as prime evils corrupting the system to the tangible detriment of the people, his shining example as an authentic and humble leader who shuns the trappings of wealth and materialism serves not only as an admonition, but is - above all - a powerful sign of encouragement on the path to making the world a better place.

Fri, 11/27/2015 - 16:15
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