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 Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People

People on the Move

N° 109 (Suppl.), April 2009



Cardinal John Njue

Archbishop of Nairobi

President, Kenya Episcopal Conference


Your Eminence Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino

President of the Pontifical Council

for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People

Your Beatitude The Patriarch

Your Excellency, Archbishop Alain Paul Lebeaupin - Apostolic Nuncio

Your Excellency Archbishop Agostino Marchetto

Your Graces,

My Lord Bishops

Rev. Monsignors

Rev. Fathers, Sisters and Brothers

Dear Christ Faithful

Invited Guests

Members of the Press

Ladies and Gentlemen 

It gives me great joy to welcome You all to Nairobi.

On behalf of Clergy, Religious and Christ’s faithful in the Archdiocese of Nairobi,  I say welcome and feel at home.

I also welcome you on behalf of the Kenya Episcopal Conference.

The Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants & Itinerant People, has graciously offered us yet another privilege to host here in Nairobi delegates from all over Africa. It is barely a month, since we received with gratitude His Eminence Jean Louis Cardinal Tauran the President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and another delegation from all over Africa for a similar meeting. When we look at this development we truly thank God for many reasons.

On one hand, we are coming out of a very difficult situation of the Post Election Crisis which almost tore our country apart. On the other hand, different parts of this country became home to thousands of Internally Displaced People, uprooted from their various homes on the basis of regional political affiliations.  The situation almost degenerated into a civil war, but thank God dialogue led by His Excellency Kofi Annan assisted by the Eminent persons, bore fruits of peace now slowly being nurtured.

It is therefore very consoling to receive all of you in Nairobi for reflection on this reality of refugees and migrant people. There cannot be a better time to reflect on the best practices in the Pastoral Care for Refugees and Migrant People. 

There could never be a better choice for a venue than Kenya, at the moment. “Refugee” is a term now known by the youngest and the oldest in Kenya. Despite the painful memory it provokes, it is more than ever, a subject worth time and effort for reflection and discussion.

The Kenya Episcopal Conference holds in high esteem the care for Refugees and Migrant People. Due to its specific situation, Kenya quickly recognizes Seafarers and Internally displaced Persons. While the term “refugee” will pass for a limited description, it must be seen from its multi-dimensional impact on the lives of people.

Both the refugee and those who find themselves in the inevitable situation of care of  the refugee and migrant people know the underlying tribulations. In consideration of the urgency of this apostolate, KEC continues to enhance the work of the Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Seafarers under His Grace Archbishop Boniface Lele assisted by Bishop Virgilio Pante. Of late it has become necessary to focus also on sex tourism especially along the Kenya coast and indeed tourism from all round dimensions.

Kenya is home to thousands of refugees uprooted from neighboring countries through civil wars not to mention the recent crisis leading to thousands of  internally displaced people. The latter have become refugees in their own motherland.

Kenya is therefore home to major refugee camps among them Kakuma in Lodwar and Daadab in Garissa. We closely collaborate with UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees), in pursuit of the best Strategies and practices in the Pastoral Care of Refugees.

I therefore welcome you my brother Cardinal Martino, President of the Pontifical Council and Archbishop Marchetto the Secretary. I welcome to Nairobi Your Beatitude, Your Excellencies, Your Graces, Your Lordships, dear Fathers, Sisters and all people of God. It is indeed a privilege that we can offer again an abode for reflection by a Pontifical Council and Continental delegates. Thank you my dear brothers and sisters for affording us this opportunity.

On behalf of the family of God in the Archdiocese of Nairobi and all the Archbishops and Bishops of the Kenya Episcopal Conference, may I underline the significance of this meeting and yet again welcome you all.

May God bless and keep you focused through out this forum.