Pope says fossil fuels must be curbed in talks

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Raw: Huge Crowd Welcomes Pope Francis in Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) --

The latest on Pope Francis' first trip to Africa. (All times local.)

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6:22 p.m.

Pope Francis warns it would be "catastrophic" if special interests get in the way of a global agreement to curb the fossil fuel emissions blamed for global warming at a meeting next week in Paris over climate change.

SEE MORE: Pope brings peace message to Africa amid security fears

In a speech to the African U.N. headquarters on Thursday, Francis said the Paris negotiations mark a crucial step in developing a new energy system that "corrects the dysfunctions and distortions" of the current model of development and fights poverty.

Francis has made ecological concerns a hallmark of his nearly 3-year-old papacy. But on Thursday, he took particular aim at those who deny the science behind climate change.

See Kenya prepare for the pontiff's visit:

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Pope says fossil fuels must be curbed in talks
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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In the United States, that accounts for several Republican presidential candidates and lawmakers, who have opposed steps U.S. President Barack Obama has taken on his own to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

He said: "It would be sad, and dare I say even catastrophic, were special interests to prevail over the common good and lead to manipulating information in order to protect their own plans and interests."

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5:30 p.m.

Pope Francis has urged Kenyan priests and nuns to serve others and not be served - and told seminarians if they're not up to the task to go find a new job and start a family.

Francis was in an unusually feisty mood during his meeting Thursday with several hundred clergy and nuns, during which he ditched his prepared speech and spoke off-the-cuff. In many ways it was a tough-love speech, urging them to not waste their time watching TV but dedicate all their waking hours to serving others or praying.

By the end, he apologized saying "what an impolite pope!" and thanked them all for their work. He realized he had neglected the seminarians in the crowd. He said everything he had said applied to them, but that if they weren't up to it, that's OK, they can go find a job and start a family.

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4:50 p.m.

Several thousand Kenyan priests, seminarians and nuns have welcomed Pope Francis to a special meeting in the fields of a Catholic school here.

Francis is speaking off-the-cuff, drawing cheers and loud applause from the crowd.

He's telling the clergy and nuns that Jesus has chosen them, and that they should follow Christ.

Francis often ditches his prepared speeches when he meets with local clergy or young people. As he often does, he apologized for not being able to speak English well enough, and reverts to his native Spanish.

SEE MORE: Catholic Church in East Africa prepares for Pope's visit

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1:15 p.m.

Nairobi police say an estimated 300,000 people attended Pope Francis' first public Mass in Africa, far fewer than the 1.4 million Kenyan authorities had predicted.

Heavy rainfall was believed at least in part to blame for the less-than-expected turnout. Kenyans had lined up as early as 3 a.m. Thursday to try to get a spot, but had no shelter and were soon standing in huge puddles of mud.

Police chief Japheth Koome told The Associated Press that an estimated 300,000 people attended the Mass at the University of Nairobi campus and surrounding parks.

Kenyan authorities had predicted that as many as 1.4 million people would turn out and declared a national holiday Thursday. The Vatican spokesman, however, had estimated that at most about 500,000 people could fit in the venues.

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11:45 a.m.

Some of the Kenyans hoping to see Pope Francis at his first public Mass in Africa have gone home, fearing a stampede due to disorganization.

Kenyan authorities estimated that as many as 1.4 million people could turn out for Thursday's Mass at the University of Nairobi campus and surrounding parks. Vatican officials put the estimate at nearly a third of that, but one of the nearby parks that was expected to be full was nearly half empty.

Sarah Ondiso, a senior government official, says she came to the grounds at 4:30 a.m. but left because of the disorganization. She says she waited in one line for two hours, then crowds were moved from one gate to the next with security unsure where to direct people.

She says she eventually left because she feared a stampede. She says: "We were all disappointed."

See the pope visit the U.S.:

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Pope's visit to the U.S. (Washington DC, New York, Philadelphia)
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Pope says fossil fuels must be curbed in talks
Pope Francis reaches out to 5th grader Omodele Ojo, of the Brooklyn borough of New York, as he is greeted while arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, Pool)
Pope Francis waves from his car, a Fiat 500, after arriving at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015. The Pope is spending three days in Washington before heading to New York and Philadelphia. This is the Pope's first visit to the United States. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Pope Francis, left, walks with President Barack Obama, right, after arriving at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015. The Pope is spending three days in Washington before heading to New York and Philadelphia. This is the Pope's first visit to the United States. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Pope Francis waves from a Fiat 500 as his motorcade departs from Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015, where President and Mrs. Obama welcomed him. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
President Barack Obama and Pope Francis walk down the Colonnade before meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and Pope Francis wave to the crowd on the South Lawn from the Truman Balcony of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, during a state arrival ceremony. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama talks with Pope Francis in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. (Tony Gentile/Pool Photo via AP)
Pope Francis give the thumbs-up from the popemobile during a parade around the Ellipse near the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
ADDS NAME OF GIRL - Pope Francis reaches to give a blessing to Sophie Cruz, 5, from suburban Los Angeles, during a parade in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. She also delivered a bright yellow T-shirt and a letter expressing wishes that her mother and father and millions of others who are in the U.S. illegally are allowed to remain in the country. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)
Seminarians greet Pope Francis, bottom center, as he walks into the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, before holding a mass to canonize Junipero Serra. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool)
Nuns sit in their pews while waiting for Pope Francis to arrive inside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Pope Francis waves to the crowd from the popemobile during a parade in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, following a state arrival ceremony at the White House hosted by President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)
Pope Francis conducts Mass outside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Pope Francis addresses a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, making history as the first pontiff to do so. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
The sun begins to rise as people gather on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, for a chance to see Pope Francis. The pope spoke to the crowd outside from a balcony after his address to a joint meeting of Congress. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Pope Francis listens to applause before addressing a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, making history as the first pontiff to do so. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Cartrice Haynesworth, center, has a selfie taken with Pope Francis as he walks through the crowd during a visit to Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015. (AP Photo/David Goldman, Pool)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 24: Mark Perez wears a button bearing the image of Pope Francis while waiting for him to arrive for a visit to Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington September 24, 2015, in Washington, DC. The charity serves dinner to about 300 homeless people daily at the site, and it will serve a meal during the pope's visit. (Photo by David Goldman-Pool/Getty Images)
Pope Francis touches the cheek of a young girl as he prepares to depart the Apostolic Nunciature, the Vatican's diplomatic mission in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, en route to Andrews Air Force Base. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Pope Francis, accompanied by members of Congress, waves to the crowd from the Speakers Balcony on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, after addressing a joint meeting of Congress inside. Doug Mills / The New York Times via AP, Pool))
Pope Francis carries his own briefcase up the stairs before boarding his plane before leaving from Andrews Air Force Base, Md., en route to New York, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
A New York City police officer searches nuns outside St. Patrick's Cathedral prior to the arrival of Pope Francis in New York, Thursday Sept. 24, 2015. (Damon Winter/The New York Times via AP, Pool)
Pope Francis engages well-wishers including Gerard Gubatan, of the Brooklyn borough of New York, center left, after arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, Pool)
Pope Francisí motorcade moves through New York City streets, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, on the way to St. Patrickís Cathedral where he will lead an evening prayer service. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, Pool)
Audience members await the entrance of Pope Francis before he leads an evening prayer service at St. Patrick's Cathedral, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in New York. (Robert Deutsch/USA Today via AP, Pool)
Faithful cheer as Pope Francis enters St. Patrick's Cathedral to lead an evening prayer service Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope Francis waves at the audience while sitting in the head of state chair before addressing the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015 at United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Pope Francis addresses the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015 at United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Pope Francis places a white rose at the South Pool of the 9/11 Memorial in downtown Manhattan, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Pope Francis, center left, reads during a multi-religious service at the 9/11 Museum, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015 in New York. The Pope is on a two-day visit to New York which includes addressing the United Nations and holding mass at Madison Square Garden before heading to Philadelphia. (Monika Graff/Pool Photo via AP)
Pope Francis visits the 9/11 Museum, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015 in New York. (Susan Watts/New York Daily News via AP, Pool)
NEW YORK, NJ - SEPTEMBER 25: Pope Francis visits Our Lady Queen of Angels School September 25, 2015 in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York City. The pope is in New York on a two-day visit carrying out a number of engagements, including a papal motorcade through Central Park and celebrating Mass in Madison Square Garden. (Photo by Kena Betancur-Pool/Getty Images)
Pope Francis, center, enters Madison Square Garden to celebrate Mass, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015 New York. (Andrew Burton/Pool Photo via AP)
Pope Francis celebrates high Mass at Madison Square Garden, Friday, Sept 25, 2015, in New York. (Alejandra Villa/Newsday via AP, Pool)
A crucifix hangs above member of the clergy who watch as Pope Francis, not shown, celebrates Mass at Madison Square Garden, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015 New York. (Michael Appleton/The New York Times via AP, Pool)
In this photo provided by World Meeting of Families, Pope Francis kisses and blesses Michael Keating, 10, of Elverson, Pa after arriving in Philadelphia and exiting his car when he saw the boy, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, at Philadelphia International Airport. Keating has cerebral palsy and is the son of Chuck Keating, director of the Bishop Shanahan High School band that performed at Pope Francis' airport arrival. (Joseph Gidjunis/World Meeting of Families via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Colleen Feldmann, of Fallsington, Pa., center, and Sister Donna with Missionaries of Charity in India, right, cheer as Pope Francis arrives at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, in Philadelphia. Francis wraps up his U.S. visit this weekend in Philadelphia, where he speaks in front of Independence Hall and celebrates Mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to close out a big rally on Catholic families. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Pope Francis passes the crowd in his pope mobile on Independence Mall in Philadelphia on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015. The pope spoke at Independence Hall on his first visit to the United States. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson, Pool)
Pope Francis makes his way to the World Meeting of Families festival along Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015. (Jewel Samad/Pool Photo via AP)
Pope Francis waves to the crowd from the popemobile during a parade along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Saturday, June 26, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
Pope Francis waves to the crowd during a parade Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, in Philadelphia. The pontiff attended a music-and-prayer festival there Saturday night to close out the World Meeting of Families, a Vatican-sponsored conference of more than 18,000 people from around the world. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, Pool)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 26: Pope Francis waves to the crowd gathered on the route to the Festival of Families along Benjamin Franklin Parkway on September 26, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Pope is concluding his U.S. tour by spending two days in Philadelphia, having visited Washington D.C. and New York City. (Photo by Eric Thayer-Pool/Getty Images)
American singer Aretha Franklin sings as Pope Francis and others listen during the World Meeting of Families festival in Philadelphia, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015. (Tony Gentile/Pool Photo via AP)
Pope Francis greets inmates during his visit to Curran Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015. (David Maialetti/The Philadelphia Inquirer, Pool)
Pope Francis gestures to inmates next to a wooden chair made for him by inmates during his visit to Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015. (Tony Gentile/Pool Photo via AP)
People gather on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway before the Papal Mass on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, in Philadelphia. Pope Francis is in Philadelphia for the last leg of his six-day visit to the United States. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
Pope Francis waves from his popemobile as he heads to celebrate Mass at the conclusion of the World Meeting of Families along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015. (Tony Gentile/Pool Photo via AP)
WYNNEWOOD, PA - SEPTEMBER 27: Pope Francis greets seminarians as he walks the loggia to his address to the Bishops at St. Martin of Tours Chapel at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, September 27, 2015 in Wynnewwod, Pennsylvania. After visiting Washington and New York City, Pope Francis concludes his tour of the U.S. with events in Philadelphia on Saturday and Sunday. ((Photo by Tom Gralish-Pool/Getty Images)
Pope Francis waves to the crowd at Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia as he departs for Rome on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015. Pope Francis wrapped up his 10-day trip to Cuba and the United States on Sunday. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson, pool)
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10:30 a.m

Pope Francis is issuing a strong appeal for traditional family values in his first public Mass in Africa.

In his homily Thursday, Francis called for Kenyans to support families and welcome children as a blessing. He urged them to resist practices "which foster arrogance in men, hurt or demean women and threaten the life of the innocent unborn."

The African church is among the most conservative in the world, and African bishops have been at the forefront in insisting that traditional church teachings on marriage and sexuality, and its opposition to abortion, be strongly emphasized.

Francis obliged, but also stressed issues of his own concern: He called for Kenyans to shape a more just society that looks out for the poor and to "reject everything that leads to prejudice and discrimination, for these things are not of God."

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10:10 a.m.

Kenyan Sen. Hassan Omar, a Muslim, says he has keenly followed Pope Francis and has welcomed his message of tolerance and care for the poor.

He says: "This pope has transcended religious fault lines. He has talked about of plight Palestinians, the weak and the downtrodden. He epitomizes simplicity and demonstrated that he is foremost defender for social justice."

According to Omar, Francis has emerged as a global leader and his message is important for Africa, which faces many challenges, from corruption, poverty and religious extremism, among others.

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10 a.m.

Nelly Ndunge says the pope's visit to Kenya is a blessing because it will renew her faith and had boosted her printing business.

The 29-year-old Kenyan says she sold nearly 3,000 copies of a 2016 calendar with the pope's portrait on it.

Ndunge says she had been on the road since 5 a.m. to get to the University of Nairobi campus for Francis' first public Mass on Thursday morning. Others had been there since 3 a.m., braving heavy downpours that soaked the grounds.

She says: "I am a Catholic and I believe he is godsend. We hope his visit will bring positive change. Sometimes we lose faith so I hope he can strengthen my faith in God."

SEE ALSO: New York girl claims pope performed a miracle on her

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9:40 a.m.

Pope Francis has boarded his open-sided popemobile for a spin through the tens of thousands of people gathered for his first public Mass in Africa.

A sea of umbrellas awaited Francis at the University of Nairobi campus, and thousands of people stood in lines several kilometers (miles) long to try to get close to the site.

Kenyans are singing, dancing and cheering as he passes by.

Francis arrived in Kenya on Wednesday on his first trip to Africa. Earlier Thursday, he told Christian and Muslim leaders they have little choice but to engage in dialogue to ward off the "barbarous" extremist attacks that have hit Kenya recently.


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