At 78, busy schedule shows Pope Francis is as fit as a fiddle

At 78-years Pope Francis has since ascension to the pinnacle of the Catholic Church kept a busy schedule that has shown a rare level of fitness in old age.

The secret to coping with such intense itinerary, according to the Vatican officials quoted in the Huffington Post, is a strict routine of sleeping, naps, prayer and meditation.

“Whether it’s at the Vatican or travelling, he’s got discipline” when it comes to sleep and how he spends his time, said the Rev. Manuel Dorantes, a Vatican spokesman who travelled with the Pope during his visit to the United States in September.

Pope Francis’ visit has included several hours of unscheduled time, gaps which church officials say are for taking naps to recharge.

This could become apparent during his Kenya visit which has a gap of six hours between meetings scheduled for Thursday.

The Pontiff is expected to preside over a public mass at the University of Nairobi grounds at 10.00am then proceed to St Mary School at 3.45 pm, where he is scheduled to meet the clergy and seminarians.

Aside from valuing his night sleep, Pope Francis is a fan of rest during the day, including midday naps which last for up to 40 minutes.

“I take off my shoes and I lie on my bed for a rest,” the Pope told La Voz del Pueblo, an Argentine newspaper, in May about his naps.

On Friday at 8.30 am the Pontiff will visit Kangemi slums then proceed to Kasarani stadium at 10.00am and at 11.15am meet Kenyan bishops at the same venue.

A farewell ceremony for the Pope is scheduled at 3.10 pm at the JKIA ahead of his 3.30pm departure for Uganda.

In between his meetings with Kenyan Bishops at Kasarani and his 3.10 pm arrival at the JKIA are five hours of unscheduled time.

Unlike other global leaders, the Pope never sleeps in a hotel and while in Nairobi will stay at the Apostolic Nunciature, the Vatican Embassy located in the city’s Lavington area.

Aside from keeping a whirlwind schedule of events in Nairobi he will be waving at thousands of fans expected to throng city streets on Wednesday.

In July during US President Barack Obama’s visit to Kenya, the government aised Kenyans to stay at home in order to avoid inconveniences caused by his logistical arrangements.

But that is going to be different during the Pontiff’s visit when the government is encouraging Kenyans to turn out in large numbers to cheer the Pope and celebrate Mass with him.

“Security agencies continue to fine-tune plans to secure the city during the particularly busy period, and when we expect Nairobi’s population to swell by an additional one million people,” Manoah Esipisu, the State House spokesman said at a media briefing.


Pope Francis begins his five-day visit to Africa today. The full schedule can be found below:

Wednesday, November 25 2015

7.45am: Departure from Rome Fiumicino to Nairobi, Kenya

5pm: Arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi

6pm: Courtesy visit to the President of the Republic at the State House in Nairobi

6.30pm: Meeting with the civil authorities of Kenya and with the diplomatic corps.

Thursday, November 26 2015

8.15am: Interreligious and Ecumenical Meeting in the Salon of the Apostolic Nunciature in Nairobi

10am: Holy Mass on the Campus of the University of Nairobi

3.45pm: Meeting with clergy, religious men and women, and seminarians, at the athletic field of St Mary’s School

5.30pm: Visit to the United Nations Office in Nairobi (Unon)

Friday, November 27 2015

8.30am: Visit to the neighbourhood of Kangemi in Nairobi

10.00am: Meeting with young people in Kasarani Stadium

11.15am: Meeting with the Bishops of Kenya in the VIP room of the Stadium

3.10pm: Farewell ceremony at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi

3.15pm: Departure by air from Nairobi for Entebbe

4.50pm: Arrival at Entebbe International Airport in Uganda

Saturday, November 28 2015

8.30am: Visit to the Anglican Sanctuary of the Martyrs at Namugongo

9am: Visit to the Catholic Sanctuary of the Martyrs at Namugongo

9.30am: Holy Mass for the Martyrs of Uganda in the area of the Catholic Sanctuary

3.15pm: Meeting with youth at Kololo Air Strip in Kampala

5pm: Visit to the House of Charity of Nalukolongo

6pm: Meeting with the Bishops of Uganda in the Residence of the Archbishop

7pm: Meeting with priests, religious men and women, and seminarians in the Cathedral

Sunday, November 29 2015

9am: Farewell ceremony at the Airport of Entebbe

9.15am: Departure by air from Entebbe for Bangui in the Central African Republic

10am: Arrival at M’Poko International Airport of Bangui, Welcome ceremony

11am: Courtesy visit to the president of the state of transition in the Presidential Palace “de la Renaissance”

11.30am: Meeting with civic leaders and with the diplomatic corps

12.15pm: Visit to a refugee camp

1pm: Meeting with the Bishops of the Central African Republic

4pm: Meeting with the Evangelical Community at the headquarters of Fateb (the Faculty of Evangelical Theology of Bangui)

5pm: Holy Mass with priests, religious men and women, catechists, and young people at the Cathedral of Bangui

7pm: Confessions of some young people and the beginning of the Vigil of Prayer in front of the Cathedral

Monday, November 30 2015

8.15am: Meeting with the Muslim community at the Koudoukou mosque in Bangui.

9.30am: Mass in the Barthelemy Boganda Stadium. Homily by pope.

12.15pm: Farewell ceremony at M’Poko International Airport.

12.30pm: Departure for Rome

6pm Arrival at Rome’s Ciampino airport.