The opportunity to meet the Holy Father came when the professor was invited to give a public lecture on Laudato Si’ at the Rome-based Sofia Technical University.
Credit: Courtesy Photo
Describing the invitation, Prof Ayiro says, “The university is under the Vatican and the Pope and they invited me to be one of the chief guests for their convocation and also to give a public lecture on Laudato Si’ and what I was doing on the environment.”
“I then shared with the (Apostolic) Nuncio in Nairobi my wish to meet Pope Francis, and he picked up the idea and we were able to get this Papal audience that we got today,” he said, and expressed gratitude to Archbishop Bert van Megen, the representative of the Holy Father in Kenya, who he said facilitated his meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican.
Asked to describe the November 3 encounter with the Holy Father, Prof Ayiro says, “Wow, it’s hard to describe.”
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The Kenyan Professor who came from humble beginnings goes on to say that his meeting with Pope Francis was “prophetic” and a divine message that people of all faiths and non-believers work together to preserve earth as a home for all.
“I’m asking myself, what is God saying? Could I be a bridge of oneness that the philosophy and appeal in Laudato Si’ is seeking for? Can we have all of us Protestants, Catholics, Hindus, Muslims, and even those non-believers come together in our efforts to be one and drive the ecological agenda of our Mother Earth?” Prof. Ayiro posed.
The encounter with Pope Francis, he added, “was very deeply emotional and humbling for me and it has just strengthened my spirit and my faith in God.”
Prof. Ayiro said that his days in Rome will be spent on “a lot of deep thinking about Laudato Si’ vis a vis Daystar University, Kenya, and Africa.”
He however did not wish to disclose details of his plans going forward saying, “Since these are thoughts that are in their infancy, I wish not to divulge my discussion because it is linked to my conversation with the Holy Father and we are just praying for God’s Providence.”
“We are praying just like Moses in Exodus had this dialogue with God and said, ‘you must go with us.’ So, I’m also asking God to go with me as I lift the image of Daystar University beyond anybody’s expectation, even mine,” Prof. Ayiro told ACI Africa during the November 3 interview.
The VC who has been at the helm of Daystar University since 2019 expressed gratitude to the family of the Christ-centred non-denominational institution of higher learning saying that he has received support from all stakeholders.
Credit: Courtesy Photo
“I just want to thank Daystar University for their love and their prayers,” Prof. Ayiro said, and explained, “It has been momentous from the time I came from the fundraising mission in the U.S. and we were able to raise funds for the first phase of the School of Nursing. And then I get this invitation to come to Rome and, great things are just happening around Daystar university.”
The widely published scholar Kenyan scholar called on the people of God to unite to conserve the environment and noted that the varied religious beliefs should not stand in the way of making the world a better place.
“I would ask all of us to remain steadfast and work towards oneness. Let’s not be divided by our denominational differences. Let’s embrace oneness in preserving our gift of earth from God. And once our journey on this earth is ended, let’s be sure to leave behind a world in which our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will be able to thrive,” Prof. Ayiro said during the November 3 interview with ACI Africa.
Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.