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Rome Reports

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Pope to Kenyan religious: â??Thank you for allowing yourself to be forgivenâ?

After a private lunch at the Apostolic Nunciature in Nairobi, Pope Francis headed to St. Mary's School for an encounter with priests, seminarians, and, religious. Like many of the other moments during his trip to Kenya, the Pope's arrival at the school was filled with music and cries of joy. After prayer and singing, the Pope heard testimony from a priest and female religious before speaking himself. Their words reflected the vitality of Catholicism in Kenya. One nun said that her fellow sisters are "mothers to the desperate and destitute.â? SR. MICHAEL MARIE ROTTINGHAUS Chairperson, Association of Sisterhoods of Kenya "Our commitment is to relentlessly promote the dignity of the human person regardless of their ethnic or religious backgrounds. Sisters are a sign of Godâ??s tangible presence, closeness and warmth to the most needy in society, guided by the Gospel and the teachings of the church.â? A priest gave testimony about what the local Church is doing to promote awareness about the environment after the Pope's encyclical. FR. FELIX J. PHIRI  Chairperson, Religious Superiors' Conference of Kenya "We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all.â? Pope Francis was set to deliver a speech in Italian, but he instead set down his prepared remarks and spoke in Spanish. But first he tried some English. "I would like to speak to you in English. But my English is poor.â? As a translator delivered his words, the Pope gave an emotional speech about the importance of humility and service. He said no one can take shortcuts when serving God. POPE FRANCIS "Following Jesus in the priesthood or consecrated life, you have to go through a door. And the door is Christ. He calls. He starts. He does the work. There are some who want to go in through the window. That doesn't work. If someone you know or friends have come in through the window, hug them. And explain that it's better for them to go and serve the Lord elsewhere.â? He joked that he didn't want to sound like he was only scolding them, and he concluded by thanking everyone. POPE FRANCIS "Thank you for allowing yourself to be forgiven, to be helped, and corrected every day.â? Music and singing filled the tent as the event ended. Pope Francis happily greeted people on his way out. ATO CTV - -BN: Up:AZ