While in Kenya, Pope Francis will visit the Jesuit-run parish of St. Joseph the Worker (Mtakatifu Yosefu Mfanyakazi) in Kangemi. It is a large, vibrant parish in a poor neighborhood near Nairobi, which provides a wonderful community for the Catholics in the surrounding area. Its Masses are an amazement: filled with energetic and faithful Catholics eager to sing and dance. St. Joseph's runs a number of schools and training centers, a "dispensary" (that is, a small healthcare center) and a shop called "Dolly Craft," in which local women make beautiful dolls (dressed in local clothes) and other items. From 1992-94 I worked in Kangemi, at the JRS Mikono Centre, which was located on the parish grounds. It is a wonderful place. We asked Paschal Mwijage, S.J., the pastor, to write a brief introduction to his parish and tell us more about the pope's visit. More about St. Joseph the Worker is here.
Receive greetings and warm regards from Kangemi.
Excitement is building in Kangemi, as the Holy Father, Pope Francis during his two-day pastoral visit in Kenya, will visit St. Joseph the Worker Parish, in the middle of Kangemi--a poor neighbourhood about 20 minutes drive from the city centre, for a session with residents in the slums and informal settlements in and around Nairobi on Nov. 27, 2015, from 8:30 am to 9:30 am.
While visiting St. Joseph Parish, about 1,200 official representatives from 11 slums, including Kangemi, will be required to join and be a part of the sharing and exchange with the Holy Father inside the church, which is already under 24-hour surveyance by the police officers.
All of those attending will be required to be seated in the church latest by 7 am.
According to the current plans, on arrival the pope will be received by two Bishops, Father Provincial of the East Africa Province, Father-in-Charge and officials from Caritas.
The papal vestments and other vestments for the priests, that will be used at Mass on 26th, at Nairobi University Graduation Square, are currently being prepared at St. Joseph Women Sewing Project. A small liturgical and exchange program for 45 minutes with the pope has already been prepared.
St. Joseph the Worker Parish runs several programs for the poor such as St. Joseph Nursery and Primary School, St. Joseph Technical Secondary School, St. Joseph Dispensary, St. Joseph Dolly Craft and Women Sewing Project, St. Joseph UPENDO Children Program, St. Joseph HIV and Gender Based Violence Program among others.
St. Joseph Kangemi was chosen to be visited by the Pope not simply because it's run by the Jesuits but because of its entry and exit logistics from the City Centre compared to other slums around Nairobi.
Paschal Mwijage, SJ., is the pastor of the Jesuit-run parish of St. Joseph the Worker (Mtakatifu Yosefu Mfanyakazi) in Kangemi.