By: LABAN ROBERT
More than 2,000 Catholics from the Mombasa Archdiocese are preparing to take part in a peace caravan to Nairobi on the day Pope Francis arrives in Kenya for his three-day visit.
Father Wilybard Lagho, the vicar-general of the archdiocese who is leading the steering committee, said the Kenya Pamoja for Peace Pwani caravan will leave the Tudor Pastoral Centre in Mombasa in the wee hours of November 25.
Before the departure, interfaith prayers will be held in the afternoon on November 24 to bless the caravan of about 50 vehicles.
Fr Lagho said Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and County Commissioner Nelson Marwa are among the leaders who have confirmed attending the prayers at the pastoral centre.
“The world needs peace. We believe praying together is the first step towards peace. Leaders of various religions will join hundreds of people at the centre for this noble initiative,” he said.
According to Fr Lagho, the prayers are vital in redefining the relationship among the various religious groups, more so after a series of attacks at the Coast were perceived to portray Muslims as being against Christians.
The cleric said 700 young people from Mombasa, Taita-Taveta, Kwale and Kilifi counties would be part of the group in the convoy that is expected to cost the Mombasa Archdiocese Sh2 million.
“The archdiocese will finance general peace needs. Individual parishes will sponsor their faithful in meeting other basic needs while on travel,” said Fr Lagho.
About 50 buses will be traversing Mombasa, Kwale, Taita-Taveta, Makueni and Machakos into Nairobi.
“Moving with such a big team poses security challenges. Traffic jams will also be apparent.
“A security team headed by Mr Marwa will coordinate with other agents in the transit counties to ensure safety and the smooth flow of traffic during the journey,” said Fr Lagho.
The cleric said in a show of solidarity of religions, prayers will be held at a church in Voi, the first stop of the journey, while another one will be hosted by a mosque at Makindu.
The group will join the more than 1.5 million faithful expected to be present during the papal visit.
The theme of the November 25 to 27 papal visit is “Do not be afraid”.
The Pope will meet with leaders of other faiths, talk to the youth at Kasarani.
He will also meet slum dwellers in Kangemi.
The Pope will celebrate Mass at the University of Nairobi grounds.
The archdiocese compromises Mombasa, Taita-Taveta, Kwale and Kilifi counties.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION