Pope Francis is scheduled to address Catholic faithfuls during a public mass Thursday at the University of Nairobi in Kenya, as part of the pontiff’s historic tour of Africa. More than one million people are expected to attend the holy mass, which is slated to start at 10 a.m. local time, or 2 a.m. EST. For those who can’t attend in person, the special event can be watched via live stream below.
The Kenyan government declared Thursday a public holiday and a national day of prayer and reflection. A papal altar was constructed on the university’s campus just for the holy mass. The event will be broadcast live on EWTN and Catholic TV’s special program “Pope Francis in Africa.” Vatican Radio will also cover the mass with commentaries in various languages, including French, Portuguese, Italian and Dutch.
Francis arrived Wednesday at Kenya’s Jommo Kenyatta International Airport in the capital Nairobi. Some 10,000 police officers were deployed for the three-day papal visit. The pontiff is expected to deliver a message of hope to Kenyans still reeling from an April attack by Islamic militant group al-Shabab that killed 147 people at a college of mostly Christian students. Prior to Thursday’s mass, Francis will meet with leaders from various religions and denominations.
"We are living at a time when religious believers, and persons of goodwill everywhere are called to foster mutual understanding and respect, and to support each other as members of our one human family," the pope said in a pre-trip message.
The head of the Roman Catholic Church also aims to heal ethnic rifts that have long divided the East African nation. "Pope Francis' visit to Kenya will be focused on inclusivity and reconciliation in relation to ethnic and religious tolerance, peace and stability," Kenyan presidential spokesman Manoah Esipisu reportedly said.