Catholic Church in East Africa prepares for Pope's visit

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NTP: Kenya preps for Pope's visit
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Catholic Church in East Africa prepares for Pope's visit
NAIROBI, KENYA - NOVEMBER 24: A parishioner of the St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Nairobi's Kangemi slum carries the vestments to be worn by Pope Francis during his visit to Kenya on November 24, 2015 in Kenya. Pope Francis makes his first visit to Kenya on a five day African tour that is scheduled to include Uganda and the Central African Republic. Africa is recognised as being crucial to the future of the Catholic Church with the continent's Catholic numbers growing faster than anywhere else in the world. (Photo by Nichole Sobecki/Getty Images)
NAIROBI, KENYA - NOVEMBER 24: A member of the St. Joseph the Worker Parish adjusts the fit of a vestment made for a priest ahead of Pope Francis' visit on November 24, 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya. Pope Francis makes his first visit to Kenya on a five day African tour that is scheduled to include Uganda and the Central African Republic. Africa is recognised as being crucial to the future of the Catholic Church with the continent's Catholic numbers growing faster than anywhere else in the world. (Photo by Nichole Sobecki/Getty Images)
A man reads a copy of the 'Catholic Mirror' newspaper next to pictures of Pope Francis at the Holy Family Basilica in Nairobi November 22, 2015. The Saint Joseph parish of the Kenyan capital Nairobi is expected to host a mass led by Pope Francis, who arrives in Kenya in two-days on a historic visit to East and Central Africa. Pope Francis heads to Africa this week for the riskiest trip of his papacy, defying danger with an open-topped popemobile and visits to a slum, refugee camp and mosque despite security fears following jihadist attacks. / AFP / SIMON MAINA (Photo credit should read SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images)
NAIROBI, KENYA - NOVEMBER 24: Father Paschal Mwijage of the St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Nairobi's Kangemi slum wears a t-shirt of Pope Francis on November 24, 2015 in Kenya. Pope Francis makes his first visit to Kenya on a five day African tour that is scheduled to include Uganda and the Central African Republic. Africa is recognised as being crucial to the future of the Catholic Church with the continent's Catholic numbers growing faster than anywhere else in the world. (Photo by Nichole Sobecki/Getty Images)
Children rehearse the dancing they will perform next week for an outdoor mass to be given by Pope Francis, in front of the podium he will speak at, in downtown Nairobi, Kenya Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015. Pope Francis follows his predecessors next week Nov. 25-30, 2015 to visit Africa whose growing numbers of Catholics are seen as a bulwark for a church seeking to broaden its appeal amid secularism, competing Christian faiths and violent extremism, in a trip that will take him to Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
A woman buys a key holder bearing an image of Pope Francis at the Holy Family Basilica in Nairobi November 22, 2015. The Saint Joseph parish of the Kenyan capital Nairobi is expected to host a mass led by Pope Francis, who arrives in Kenya in two-days on a historic visit to East and Central Africa. Pope Francis heads to Africa this week for the riskiest trip of his papacy, defying danger with an open-topped popemobile and visits to a slum, refugee camp and mosque despite security fears following jihadist attacks. AFP PHOTO / SIMON MAINA (Photo credit should read SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images)
NAIROBI, KENYA - NOVEMBER 24: A cameraman films an effigy representing Pope Francis at the Holy Family Basilica on November 24, 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya. Pope Francis makes his first visit to Kenya on a five day African tour that is scheduled to include Uganda and the Central African Republic. Africa is recognised as being crucial to the future of the Catholic Church with the continentís Catholic numbers growing faster than anywhere else in the world. (Photo by Nichole Sobecki/Getty Images)
NAIROBI, KENYA - NOVEMBER 24: Artist Simon Kizito tries to sell his painting of Pope Francis in Nairobi's Kangemi slum on November 24, 2015 in Kenya. Pope Francis makes his first visit to Kenya on a five day African tour that is scheduled to include Uganda and the Central African Republic. Africa is recognised as being crucial to the future of the Catholic Church with the continentís Catholic numbers growing faster than anywhere else in the world. (Photo by Nichole Sobecki/Getty Images)
A workman finishes painting a roof at the site where the Papal Mass will take place, above a banner in Swahili reading "Welcome to Kenya", in Nairobi, Kenya Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015. The Kenyan government has declared a national public holiday Thursday on the day that Pope Francis is due to celebrate mass on the grounds of the University of Nairobi with large crowds expected to flock to the event. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
NAIROBI, KENYA - NOVEMBER 24: A poster welcoming Pope Francis to Kenya is pictured in the Kangemi slum on November 24, 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya. Pope Francis makes his first visit to Kenya on a five day African tour that is scheduled to include Uganda and the Central African Republic. Africa is recognised as being crucial to the future of the Catholic Church with the continentís Catholic numbers growing faster than anywhere else in the world. (Photo by Nichole Sobecki/Getty Images)
NAIROBI, KENYA - NOVEMBER 24: A poster welcoming Pope Francis to Kenya is pictured in the Kangemi slum on November 24, 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya. Pope Francis makes his first visit to Kenya on a five day African tour that is scheduled to include Uganda and the Central African Republic. Africa is recognised as being crucial to the future of the Catholic Church with the continent's Catholic numbers growing faster than anywhere else in the world. (Photo by Nichole Sobecki/Getty Images)
NAIROBI, KENYA - NOVEMBER 24: Images of Pope Francis have been printed on key chains for sale at the Holy Family Basilica on November 24, 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya. Pope Francis makes his first visit to Kenya on a five day African tour that is scheduled to include Uganda and the Central African Republic. Africa is recognised as being crucial to the future of the Catholic Church with the continent's Catholic numbers growing faster than anywhere else in the world. (Photo by Nichole Sobecki/Getty Images)
A cleaner washes metal chairs to be used by guests at the site where the Papal Mass will take place, in Nairobi, Kenya Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015. The Kenyan government has declared a national public holiday Thursday on the day that Pope Francis is due to celebrate mass on the grounds of the University of Nairobi with large crowds expected to flock to the event. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
NAIROBI, KENYA - NOVEMBER 24: A parishioner of the St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Nairobi's Kangemi slum hangs the vestments to be worn by Pope Francis during his visit to Kenya on November 24, 2015 in Kenya. Pope Francis makes his first visit to Kenya on a five day African tour that is scheduled to include Uganda and the Central African Republic. Africa is recognised as being crucial to the future of the Catholic Church with the continent's Catholic numbers growing faster than anywhere else in the world. (Photo by Nichole Sobecki/Getty Images)
In this photo taken Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, Alice Ngundi, 45, irons one of three robes made for Pope Francis to wear during his upcoming visit to Kenya, sewn by the Dolly Craft Sewing Project and Women's Group in the Kangemi slum of Nairobi, Kenya. Pope Francis follows his predecessors next week, Nov. 25-30 to visit Africa whose growing numbers of Catholics are seen as a bulwark for a church seeking to broaden its appeal amid secularism, competing Christian faiths and violent extremism, in a trip that will take him to Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
NAIROBI, KENYA - NOVEMBER 24: Labourers work on a road that will be used by Pope Francis during his visit to Kenya on November 24, 2015 in Nairobi. Pope Francis makes his first visit to Kenya on a five day African tour that is scheduled to include Uganda and the Central African Republic. Africa is recognised as being crucial to the future of the Catholic Church with the continent's Catholic numbers growing faster than anywhere else in the world. (Photo by Nichole Sobecki/Getty Images)
NAIROBI, KENYA - NOVEMBER 24: A poster welcoming Pope Francis to Kenya is pictured in the Kangemi slum on November 24, 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya. Pope Francis makes his first visit to Kenya on a five day African tour that is scheduled to include Uganda and the Central African Republic. Africa is recognised as being crucial to the future of the Catholic Church with the continent's Catholic numbers growing faster than anywhere else in the world. (Photo by Nichole Sobecki/Getty Images)
NAIROBI, KENYA - NOVEMBER 24: Worshipers pray at the Holy Family Basilica where an effigy representing Pope Francis has been set up on the altar on November 24, 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya. Pope Francis makes his first visit to Kenya on a five day African tour that is scheduled to include Uganda and the Central African Republic. Africa is recognised as being crucial to the future of the Catholic Church with the continent's Catholic numbers growing faster than anywhere else in the world. (Photo by Nichole Sobecki/Getty Images)
In this photo taken Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, supervisor Mary Njue, 50, displays three robes made for Pope Francis to wear during his upcoming visit to Kenya, sewn by the Dolly Craft Sewing Project and Women's Group in the Kangemi slum of Nairobi, Kenya. Pope Francis follows his predecessors next week, Nov. 25-30 to visit Africa whose growing numbers of Catholics are seen as a bulwark for a church seeking to broaden its appeal amid secularism, competing Christian faiths and violent extremism, in a trip that will take him to Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
NAIROBI, KENYA - NOVEMBER 24: A bookstore at the Holy Family Basilica displays books and memorabilia dedicated to Pope Francis on November 24, 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya. Pope Francis makes his first visit to Kenya on a five day African tour that is scheduled to include Uganda and the Central African Republic. Africa is recognised as being crucial to the future of the Catholic Church with the continentís Catholic numbers growing faster than anywhere else in the world. (Photo by Nichole Sobecki/Getty Images)
NAIROBI, KENYA - NOVEMBER 24: A street stall in central Nairobi sells a poster of Pope Francis alongside newspapers on November 24, 2015 in Kenya. Pope Francis makes his first visit to Kenya on a five day African tour that is scheduled to include Uganda and the Central African Republic. Africa is recognised as being crucial to the future of the Catholic Church with the continentís Catholic numbers growing faster than anywhere else in the world. (Photo by Nichole Sobecki/Getty Images)
A man pulls a cart past billboards announcing the visit of Pope Francis in Nairobi on November 23, 2015. Pope Francis heads to Africa this week for the riskiest trip of his papacy, defying danger with an open-topped popemobile and visits to a slum, refugee camp and mosque despite security fears following jihadist attacks. AFP PHOTO / SIMON MAINA (Photo credit should read SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images)
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NAIROBI, KENYA (Reuters) - These tailors who make vestments for the Catholic clergy are busy taking measurements and making cuts to fabric at a workshop at the "St. Joseph, the Worker" parish in Nairobi.

They are working on a very special project, making robes that will be worn by Pope Francis and other Bishops during his visit to the country on November 25.

The parish is located in Kangemi, a low income area on the outskirts of the city and will have the privilege of hosting Pope Francis during his three-day visit to Kenya.

Drawing inspiration from African cultural designs, the Catholic Church leadership commissioned the parish to tailor 60 bishop chasubles, 604 albs and 2004 stoles, most of which have been completed.

Sarah Ndungu is one of the parish tailors.

"This time round because the visitors are coming to Africa that is why we chose the one with an African touch. So we were to find a kitenge that symbolises mostly the Maasai women with the beads the necklaces that they put. That is what we found for the Pope and also for the Bishops attires," she said.

Pope Francis made a request to visit the parish for an interactive session with 1,200 Kangemi residents. Kangemi houses about 650,000 people.

Father Marandu, is the parish priest at "St. Joseph, the Worker" and said parishioners are excited about their guest.

"We are affirmed in our discipleship that we are part of the church, a significant part of the church, so significant that the Pope pays us a visit without caring what type of road we have, what type of hall we have and so on. That is something indeed." explained Father Marandu, priest to St Joseph Kangemi.

Francis, who became pope in 2013, has already made trips this year to South America and the United States.

Since his election as the first Latin American pope, Francis has met the most needy on each of his 10 foreign tours. The pontiff will travel to Uganda on November 27 and will be arriving in the Central African Republic, the final stop on the trip, on November 29.

The trip, his first to Africa, is fraught with security concerns. Attacks by gunmen of the Somalia-based Islamist group al Shabaab in Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall killed 67 people in 2013 and another attack at the Garissa University College in eastern Kenya killed 148 people last April, most of them Christian.

The last papal visit to Kenya was made by Pope John Paul II in 1995, an occasion that drew huge crowds who came to hear him speak his message of unity of the family and encouragement to the the youth.

Pope Francis has been deemed by the media as less conservative compared to his predecessors, he has stressed since his election that the 1.2 billion-member Church should be open to change, side with the poor and rid itself of the pomp and stuffiness that has alienated so many Catholics.

Philomena Mwaura, a professor of religious studies at Kenyatta University says that the pontiff wants to find a balance that will safeguard the church's doctrine yet shun discrimination.

"The Pope has been described as a liberal, some would describe him as a conservative but I would say he is more of a reformer and progressive. He does not really, he hasn't - I wouldn't say that he has gone contrary to the Christian teaching, he is also concerned about the integrity of marriage. The message that he preaches is one of mercy, one of love and concern for those who are victims, for those who are suffering. But I would not say that he is bringing about radical changes in doctrine or wishing to change the message of the Gospel," she said.

According to the World Christian Database, by late last year there were 171 million Catholics in Sub-Saharan Africa with 7.5 million belonging to the Kenyan Catholic Church.

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