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1.4 million due at Kenyan Papal Mass

An estimated 1.4 million people are expected to attend Mass officiated by Pope Francis when he visits Kenya on his first trip Africa, according to Catholic Church officials and Kenyan authorities

The Pope’s visit to Kenya on November 25 to 27— the first stop in his three-state visit of Africa—will see the Pontiff talk about strengthening families, inter-ethnic tolerance and inclusivity, Presidential Spokesman Manoah Esipisu said.

The Pope will also discuss climate change when he meets with diplomats at the UN Environment Program headquarters in the Gigiri area of Nairobi, which will come a few days before the UN climate change conference in Paris, the spkesman said.

The Catholic Church expects its 1000 parishes in Kenya to bring at least three buses of pilgrims, for the Mass on November 26 at the grounds of Nairobi University, which will have 9000 priests and clergymen, Bishop Alfred Rotich said.

Security arrangement will include 10,000 police officers and additional 10,000 members of the National Youth Service will be used for crowd control. Kenya has faced a wave of extremist attacks from neighboring Somalia’s Islamic extremist rebels of al-Shabab since it sent its troop to Somalia to bolster the western-backed government against the militants’ insurgency. In nearly all of the attacks non-Muslims have been targeted and Christian churches have also been raided.

Pope Francis will also visit Uganda and the Central African Republic on November 28 through 30.

Despite continued instability and outbreaks of violence in the Central African Republic, the Vatican has said the Pope will spend about 33 hours in the country during the visit. The Vatican said that while the Pope is in the Central African Republic he will visit a refugee camp, hold a meeting with evangelical Christians and visit a mosque in Bangui, the nation’s capital.

The country has known little peace or development in its 55 years of independence. In March 2013, a rebel movement, Seleka, led by Arab-speaking Islamists, suspended the nation’s constitution. French and African peacekeepers were deployed in January 2014 and the rebels were driven out of the capital.


Pic: A tailor in Kangemi, outside Nairobi, Kenya, works on a vestment to be used by Pope Francis during his late-November trip to the country


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