By: MUTHONI THANG’WA
Welcome to Kenya, Your Holiness Pope Francis.
As a member of the flock – this is the one head of the Catholic Church that I have been able to confidently refer to as ‘my Pope’.
I am a great admirer of some previous Popes such as John Paul II, whose writings continue to influence and guide many Catholics in their journey of life.
This is however the first head of the Catholic Church I have seen who speaks to many people in a real way without intellectualising everything.
That leaves bishops and clergy to break it down for the faithful, often in ways that make things more complex than simple, and line the message with personal opinions and experiences which may not meet the standard of the infinite truth.
He is one leader who does not seem to be seeking the approval of humans but rather to represent love, hope and truth in the best way he has been gifted to do.
At some point in the preparations for his visit to East Africa, his first and probably his only one, he sent out a message to the faithful, saying he will visit Kenya and Uganda as a minister of the gospel, not just for Catholics, but for every follower of Christ.
He adds that his intention, regardless of you and I, is to proclaim the love of Jesus Christ and his message of reconciliation, forgiveness and peace.
This Pope has a soft spot for the youth and refers to them as ‘our’ greatest resource and most promising hope for a future of solidarity, peace and progress.
True to his word, he will meet the youth at Kasarani, Safaricom Stadium on Friday at 10 am.
Previous popes have shown interest in youth. For example, John Paul II, on his visit to Kenya in 1995, addressed a handful of young people at the Aposotlic Nunciature in Lavington.
Pope Francis is showing unreserved affection, support and hope in young people. He recognises the youthful energy, enthusiasm and creativity as something that the church must harness in making disciples of all nations. I expect a consistent message from the Kasarani meeting.
As if in affirmation of the papal sentiments, a student from Strathmore University, probably a youth, has produced an amazing video to welcome the Pope to Kenya.
The graphics and music are catching by any standard, but what captured my attention was the message.
The video describes Kenya as a land of indescribable magnificence, and the people of Kenya as warm-hearted.
It shows a stunning lady in traditional clothes, some happy-looking youth and of course our trademark athletes on the finish line.
It acknowledges that we have passed through some lessons, which I supposed refers to our challenges around corruption, governance and the rule of law, and rightly points out that ‘such’ can only be a basis to emphasise the ‘importance of love and unity’.
The video just confirms the ability of the youth to see the future in colour, and the importance of their nation taking them seriously and giving them a pride of place to craft out a future for themselves, and by extension the country.
It looks at Kenya in a way that is rarely portrayed in social media and other productions, and reminds us of all the good in us, in spite of obvious challenges that we face.
In the long term that is the way to see this country – through the eyes of its youth.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION