KENYA: Your Difficulties are not Indifferent to me, Pope Francis Tells Slum Dwellers

KANGEMI NOVEMBER 27, 2015 (CISA) – “I am here because I want you to know that your joys and hopes, your troubles and your sorrows, are not indifferent to me. I realize the difficulties which you experience daily! How can I not denounce the injustices which you suffer?”

Pope Francis was speaking at St Joseph the worker Parish in Kangemi where he met 1,500 representatives of slums in Nairobi.

“I feel very much at home sharing these moments with brothers and sisters who, and I am not ashamed to say this, have a special place in my life and my decisions,” Pope Francis said on the last day of his visit to Kenya shortly before meeting Kenyan youth at Kasarani Stadium.

The Pontiff noted that the language of exclusion often ignores wisdom that is found in poor neighbourhoods.

“A wisdom which is born of the stubborn resistance of that which is authentic from Gospel values which an opulent society, anaesthetized by unbridled consumption, would seem to have forgotten,” the Pope said.

“You are able to weave bonds of belonging and togetherness which convert overcrowding into an experience of community in which the walls of the ego are torn down and the barriers of selfishness overcome,” the pope told the crowd.

The Pope urged the crowd to uphold these values. “Values which are not quoted in the stock exchange, are not subject to speculation, and have no market price… values grounded in the fact each human being is more important than the god of money.”

“The culture of poor neighbourhoods, steeped in this particular wisdom, has very positive traits, which can offer something to these times in which we live; it is expressed in values such as solidarity, giving one’s life for others, preferring birth to death, providing Christian burial to one’s dead; finding a place for the sick in one’s home, sharing bread with the hungry -for there is always room for one more seat at the table-, showing patience and strength when faced with great adversity, and so on,” he said.

“Thank you for reminding us that another type of culture is possible,” he told the slum dwellers.

The Pope was accompanied by Bishop Cornelius Korir of the diocese of Eldoret and chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishop’s Commission for Justice and peace and his vice, Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde of the Catholic Archdiocese of Mombasa.

The Pope’s speech was in Spanish and was translated by Msgr. Mark Miles, Pope Francis’ official translator.

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