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Pope in Nairobi, tells clergy to serve others

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Pope Francis waving to the crowd as he arrived to hold a Mass at the campus of the University of Nairobi, Kenya yesterday. Francis met with a small group of Kenya’s faith leaders before celebrating his first public Mass on the continent, a joyful, rain-soaked celebration attended by tens of thousands of faithful, including Kenya’s president. PHOTO: AP PHOTO/BEN CURTIS

Pope Francis waving to the crowd as he arrived to hold a Mass at the campus of the University of Nairobi, Kenya yesterday. Francis met with a small group of Kenya’s faith leaders before celebrating his first public Mass on the continent, a joyful, rain-soaked celebration attended by tens of thousands of faithful, including Kenya’s president. PHOTO: AP PHOTO/BEN CURTIS

POPE Francis has urged Kenyan priests and nuns to serve others and not be served – and told seminarians if they are 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 yesterday 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 okay, they can go find a job and start a family.

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

Francis was 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.

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. yesterday 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 yesterday. The Vatican spokesman, however, had estimated that at most about 500,000 people could fit in the venues.



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