NAIROBI NOVEMBER 25, 2015(CISA)-Pope Francis has encouraged Kenyans to continue working for peace in the country.
“Experience shows that violence, conflict and terrorism feed on fear, mistrust, and the despair born of poverty and frustration,” Pope Francis said November 25 during his first public address in Kenya.
He noted that Kenya’s public officials have “a special responsibility to work to protect peace and to secure a just society.”
“To the extent that our societies experience divisions, whether ethnic, religious or economic, all men and women of good will are called to work for reconciliation and peace, forgiveness and healing,” said Pope Francis.
The Holy Father further encouraged Kenyans to fearlessly work towards instilling the values that inspired the birth of Kenya.
“Ultimately, the struggle against these enemies of peace and prosperity must be carried out by men and women who fearlessly believe in, and bear honest witness to, the great spiritual and political values which inspired the birth of the nation,” he said.
The Pope gave President Kenyatta a drawing of the facade of St. Peter’s Basilica by the architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The drawing dates back to the 17th century.
President Kenyatta, in his remarks welcoming the Pope, noted the great opportunities and challenges facing Kenya, including efforts to promote highest standards in government, inclusivity and peace while also addressing environmental problems.
He noted the Catholic Church’s role as a “strong partner” in social and economic development in Kenya.
“The church has long been a partner of the state in the integral development without which any hope of cohesion and inclusivity would be vain…. Through its dioceses in Kenya, the church is our largest non-state provider of health care with nearly 500 healthcare units, and over 50 community-based orphanages, and programs for vulnerable children.
“The Church is the largest non-state provider of health care and runs numerous organizations for orphans and vulnerable children. The Church’s network of Catholic schools includes 8,000 primary and secondary schools, five colleges and a university.
President Kenyatta noted that he too is a beneficiary of Catholic schools.
He closed with a prayer request: “Holy Father, I ask you to pray for Kenya, that God will hear us, that he will heal this land.”