Catholic bishops in the country have called on Kenyans to avoid discussions that might stir the country towards ethnic animosity ahead of the Pope’s visit.
Pope Francis is expected in the country on 25-27 of this month in a historic tour that will see him celebrate mass at the University of Nairobi grounds. The Pope will also have mass in Kasarani with young people as well as visit a slum in Nairobi.
On Sunday November 1 the bishops sent a message that called upon Kenyans to get into a prayer mood as the visit drew closer.
The message read
“We declare and demand an honest ceasefire and end to the incessant name calling among our politicians. We urge an end to the ethnic undertones and inciting remarks by leaders who were elected to protect the welfare of all people.”
“We call for national prayers and conversion. Let us take this opportunity to seek a new life and anew beginning in our country, our families and our places of work,”
the message read by Bishop Alfred Rotich during a press briefing at State House further read.
Below is the full Press Statement:
Dear Brothers and sisters in Christ, fellow Kenyans and the entire family of God.
Today we celebrate All Saints day. On the solemn and important occasion being celebrated everywhere in the world, the secretariat responsible for the preparations of the forthcoming landmark visit to Kenya by His Holiness Pope Francis, brings you greetings of peace and good will.
In exactly 25 days, The Holy father Pope Francis will arrive in Kenya on his maiden visit to the African continent. His Apostolic Voyage to Africa begins in Kenya on 25th November for three days after which he will tour Uganda and the Central African Republic respectively.
We wish to call on all Kenyans to join in prayer ahead of the visit and further invite all Kenyans of all walks to join us for the Papal mass on 26th November that will be celebrated by the Holy Father.
We continue to urge all Kenyans to seek peace and tolerance in difficult times. Our Nation is facing great trials that threaten to tear it apart. The recent political name calling, ethnic incitement lack the good taste on expected decorum by our leaders who were elected to steer us to unity and peace is worrying.
Our country and the people of Kenya already have to contend with many afflictions such as the escalating economic challenges of modern day living, and cannot contend with disunity at the leadership level. It only serves to further compound our problems and we must work together to seek solutions. We call on all leaders to lead.
Proverbs 28:25 reminds us that the greedy stir up conflict, but those who trust in the Lord will prosper. Our country has been called to peace and prosperity and with this knowledge we should steer clear of paths that lead us in the wrong direction. As the Holy father visits our great nation, let us join together and humbly seek redemption together and set an example for generations to come by always seeking God first in times of challenges and also in times of prosperity.
On This solemn occasion of all saints day as we begin the final countdown to the arrival of the Holy Father, we declare a moratorium;
1. We declare and demand an honest ceasefire and end to the incessant name calling among our politicians.
2. We urge an end to the ethnic undertones and inciting remarks by leaders who were elected to protect the welfare of all people.
3. We call for national prayers and conversion. Let us take this opportunity to seek a new life and anew beginning in our country, our families and our places of work.
In conclusion, dear Kenyans, We are happy to inform you on the progress of Hosting the Holy Father. The joint committee is glad to report that preparations for the Altar and podium for the mass and all venues to be visited by the Holy are on course.
The choirs that will sing during the papal mass are practising in different parishes and registration of the young people who will spend time with the Holy Father is almost concluded.
We urge our Christians to continue registering in their parishes to come receive the Holy Father. Every catholic parish is Kenya is requested to send 3 buses of pilgrims for the main mass on November 26th.
We also urge you all to continue making contributions to the MPESA paybill number 405060 for support towards the preparations of the visit and the special papal legacy projects to be initiated.
Please continue praying for our country that Justice and Peace founded on the Love of God may prevail.
On behalf of all Catholic Bishops of Kenya,
Rt. Rev. Alfred Rotich
Chairman – Pope’s Visit Secretariat, Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops
November 1, 2015.