President Obama’s historic visit to Kenya as a president may pave way for other dignitaries from other countries to explore Kenya as well.– that the pope will be visiting Uganda and Central African Republic …but how about Kenya? As of yet, there are no details about Pope Francis’ trip to Africa this November but Pope Francis on Friday said he planned to visit the Central African Republic and Uganda in November, and hoped to go to Kenya, during his first trip to Africa since becoming pope.
While talking to a gathering of priests from around the world, the pontiff said he wanted to add Kenya to his African visit but “it is still uncertain because there are organisational problems”. Even though he didn’t give details of the problems, the Kenyan media has revealed that a Vatican delegation is expected next week to prepare for the Pope’s arrival.
Originally, according to the website of the Prefecture of the Papal Household, Pope Francis was scheduled to travel to Africa Nov. 27-29, visiting Uganda and Central African Republic. Later the idea of Kenya was included: it borders Uganda’s east, and locals are already convinced that there will be a three-day papal visit to their nation. The speculation is backed by the fact that the prefecture’s website now lists the Africa trip as lasting Nov. 25-30. It is as a matter of fact believed that Pope Francis, the first pontiff to hail from Latin America may add leg to Kenya during his trip to the Uganda this November. The possibility, which would add a new dimension to an already highly anticipated trip to Africa.
The Daily Nation, a Nairobi-based paper, maintains that the exact size and dates of next week’s delegation from the Vatican remains uncertain. Nonetheless the paper writes that the delegation will be welcomed by Cardinal John Njue of Nairobi and Archbishop Charles Balvo, apostolic nuncio to Kenya and South Sudan.
In response to reporters’ questions, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said in a statement
According to Archbishop Peter Kairo of Nyeri the delegation will be responsible for all the preparations required for the Pope’s arrival, and discuss security issues with the relevant government bodies.
The Pope’s visit in Kenya should last three days – in his words “We are expecting him to arrive here on November 25 whereby he will be welcomed in the country by President Uhuru Kenyatta.”
He further said that three committees are being set up at the moment, comprising archbishops and other Church figures who have in the past helped in coordinating big events, like the beatification of Sister Irene Sefani.
Fr. Peter Githinji of the Nyeri archdiocese, who coordinated that beatification, hopes Pope Francis will declare as martyrs the 75 faithful whose lives were taken for their faith during the Mau Mau Uprising during the 1950s.
Such a celebration tie in with Pope Francis’ visit to Uganda, where he is expected to canonize that nation’s martyrs.
If the Holy Father eventually takes into consideration the idea of making a stop in Kenya on his way to Africa this November, it will be a remarkable trip that will open wider opportunity for other world dignitaries to know that Kenya is a safe place ready to welcome any of the world’s most important people.