Dear Pope Francis, I’m now wiser in my faith and pray for you every day

I recently overheard a conversation among 10-year-olds who had learnt that you once had a girlfriend.

This discovery tickled them immensely. They assumed that one becomes a priest right from birth.

The clarification that that was before your ordination had them sighing with relief. Hearing these assumptions from children reminded me of those I once had in relation to the Catholic faith.

I grew up in a Catholic family and many of the church’s traditions were passed to me by my mother.

My fondest memory of going to Sunday Mass was hurrying to get there in order to get a front seat so that I would get a handshake from the altar boys during the sign of peace.

I still try to get there early, but for more pious reasons.

During my teenage years, I found the number of times we had to kneel and stand during Mass exhausting.

The Sunday ritual of running to Mass with my mother became an ordeal.

Much of what happened at the altar was a mystery to me.

READING WIDELY

By: the time I joined university, my faith had cooled off.

I prayed occasionally, especially when I was about to sit an exam for which I needed divine intervention to pass.

With time, I learnt the hard way that no one scores an A through intuition.

All the while, I was seeking the whys to what my mother taught me.

I knew that the Virgin Mary was a central figure in the church.

Did we worship her? In a spirit of rebellion, I wanted tangible reasons as to why the church dictates mandatory Sunday Mass attendance.

Surely God would understand that I had been up all night studying.

This led to me to read widely. I had heard of the catechism of the Catholic Church but had never got round to reading it.

There is also a wealth of literature dating back to the time when the earth was thought to be flat.

I would need a whole lifetime to pore through all of it.

I am currently reading Familiaris Consortio, the encyclical on the family written by St John Paul II.

Perhaps because of the negative ideas propagated, I fear marriage.

ALWAYS IN MY PRAYER

Many are crumbling right before my eyes.

A number of my peers have already settled for what we commonly refer to as come-we-stay arrangements.

They have few children, or opt out of having any altogether.

Please remind me of the beauty of marriage as God ordained it to be.

I would love to personally meet you while you are here, but as this is not possible, I would like you to know that I pray for you daily.

It must have been quite an adjustment moving from a relatively quiet life to one where the whole world knows what sport you enjoy.

I hope you get to taste ugali. If you have it with fish or nyama choma, our version of roast meat, you will be one step closer to being Kenyan.

Yours sincerely,