He gave the example of the Church in Malawi where, instead of the faithful beating their breasts as a sign of remorse during Holy Mass, they bow down instead. In Malawi, beating one’s chest is a show off.
In Uganda, people clap when a respectable person approaches. The same is replicated during the elevation of the body of Christs at Holy Mass, Fr. Luchidio said, and noted, “Clapping at this point makes sense in Uganda because it fits within their culture. It does not make sense for the same to be replicated at a Kenyan Diocese just because one went to Uganda and saw people clapping.”
Likewise, it is sensible for a Bishop in Kenya’s Maralal Diocese to wear a decorated hat made from an animal skin instead of a normal Mitre made from a piece of cloth. This, the PMS Kenya Director said, is to help with the enculturation of the Church within Maralal where skins are part of the people’s way of life.
The highlight of the meeting, however, was to share the joy of being a missionary in hardship missionary territories, the member of the Clergy of Kenya’s Kakamega Diocese told ACI Africa.
It is while ministering in geographical peripheries that Priests learn the true spirit of sharing with others, he said.
(Story continues below)
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“Priests in hardship areas are touched daily by the challenges that the people endure. Some Priests survive on very little just to share with those who have nothing,” he said.
When the Priests go back to their respective Dioceses and share their experiences from ministering in hardship areas, their testimonies also draw people closer to God, realizing that they are privileged to attend Holy Mass every day while others go for months without the services of a Priest.
Additionally, it is in the geographical peripheries that Priests feel welcome the most, the PMS Kenya Director notes.
“Despite their challenges, people in hardship areas love their Priests so much. I toured a manyatta (a settlement in Kenya) in Lodwar and I witnessed this. The children show genuine enthusiasm whenever a Priest approaches and the older people see the visit as an honor too,” Fr. Luchidio told ACI Africa September 7.
He added, “There is no much joy than feeling welcome. A Priest suffers the most when they don’t feel welcome.”