Do not be afraid, you are with the Lord, Pope tells Kenyans

Thursday November 26 2015

Faithful during the papal mass at University of Nairobi on November 26, 2015. PHOTO | NGARE KARIUKI | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Faithful during the papal mass at University of Nairobi on November 26, 2015. PHOTO | NGARE KARIUKI | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Some of the Kenyans heading to University of Nairobi grounds ahead of Pope Francis' public mass on November 26, 2015. PHOTO | NGARE KARIUKI | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Some of the Kenyans heading to University of Nairobi grounds ahead of Pope Francis' public mass on November 26, 2015. PHOTO | NGARE KARIUKI | NATION MEDIA GROUP
NATION TEAM
By NATION TEAM
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Pope Francis has told Kenyans not to fear anything as they belong to the Lord.

“May God bless all Kenyans with His peace. Stand strong in faith. Do not be afraid, for you belong to the Lord. Mungu awabariki. Mungu abariki Kenya,” he said.

Priests walking in the crowds distributing sacrament to the masses. PHOTO | EUNICE KILONZO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Priests walking in the crowds distributing sacrament to the masses. PHOTO | EUNICE KILONZO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Pope Francis, in his sermon, urged the youth to build a just society that is inclusive.

“Here in the heart of this university where the minds and hearts of the young are being shaped, I appeal to the young people of this generation to build a society that is more just and inclusive. May you always be concerned for the welfare of the poor,” he said.

The Pope also said: “In obedience to the Word, we are called to resist practices which foster arrogance in men, and hurt or demean women.”

Pope Francis making his entry to University of Nairobi grounds on November 26, 2015. PHOTO | NGARE KARIUKI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Pope Francis making his entry to University of Nairobi grounds on November 26, 2015. PHOTO | NGARE KARIUKI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In his sermon, the pontiff denounced abortion and corruption among other vices in the society.

During the mass, there was no offertory.

The mass was also attended by faithful from foreign countries with two Burundi nationals appealing to the Pope to visit their country and intervene in the ongoing strife there.

Michael and Shanelle said they came all the way to Kenya because they want the pontiff to go and preach peace there as they fear the country could plunge into civil war leading to a genocide.

“The violence in our nation is escalating. I know the Holy Father can bring peace to our nation Burundi,” said Michael.

Michael and Shanelle who came all the way to Kenya from Burundi because they want the pontiff to go and preach peace there as they fear the country could plunge into civil war leading to a genocide. PHOTO | NGARE KARIUKI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Michael and Shanelle who came all the way to Kenya from Burundi because they want the pontiff to go and preach peace there as they fear the country could plunge into civil war leading to a genocide. PHOTO | NGARE KARIUKI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Kenyans braved Thursday morning rains and cold as they thronged the University of Nairobi grounds, ready for Pope Francis’ 10am public Mass.

Thousands of enthusiastic Kenyans filled streets in Nairobi from as early as 3am despite the rains that pounded the city the whole night.

Many others got stuck in early traffic as some roads were blocked, forcing motorists to look for alternative routes to access the central business district.

Catholic faithful queuing and singing hymns at 5.30am on November 26, 2015 to get to the venue of the mass by Pope Francis. PHOTO | JOSEPH NGARI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Catholic faithful queuing and singing hymns at 5.30am on November 26, 2015 to get to the venue of the mass by Pope Francis. PHOTO | JOSEPH NGARI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

At 8am, the Pope was meeting interreligious leaders in Lavington, Nairobi.

Security officers were on high alert, screening everybody before being allowed to access the venue of the historic Mass.

President Uhuru Kenyatta arrived at the venue at around 9:30am while former President Mwai Kibaki arrived earlier.

Opposition leader and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga also arrived earlier for the mass.

Reported by Eunice Kilonzo, Ngare Kariuki, Obed Simiyu, Muchemi Wachira