Tuesday, 31 March 2015

The Great Unity in Diversity, ONE CULTURE

The chapel at the residential stay of candidates of the Missionaries of Africa was full of jubilations. The newly accepted candidates sung merrily the joyful songs. They widely opened there well moulded mouths as they articulated the words of the song, Sancta Maria, the Anthem of Missionaries of Africa. Furthermore, it was during the Easter Triduum. They were over joyed, having been granted the chance to embrace the charism of the Missionaries of Africa to the fullest, not only to the full.

Luya dance performance by the Missionaries of Africa candidates

It is a new style of living as young energetic men with diversities live together. People of different race, tongue and nation assemble, just like the Disciples of Christ, for a period of three years of discernment at Lavigerie House. They converge to form ONE CULTURE. Is it a mystery? It could be. It is a joy that love, unity, trust, toleration and the spirit of cooperation is enriched among people who had never met before. ‘No one can live as an island, journeying through life alone’ they say. However, one of the pretty clear challenges lies on the integration of all the varied cultures into one culture of the Missionaries of Africa. Following the classes of the preparatory stay, community life plays an important role in the society of the missionaries of African. In addition, it is one of the key pillars of formation among the Missionaries of Africa. It is pretty obvious that there is vulnerability.

Unless the members of a given community understand what a community really implies, there is a danger that community life will be unlived. A voluminous number of people name it ‘communion’, others echoes it as having ‘a common goal’. In addition, few talk of ‘communication’ and finally, a few talk of ‘communion’. Individuals get to know one another, understand it as THE ONE CULTURE.

Tolbert Odhiambo presenting the Luo culture
in one of our cultural evenings.
THE ONE CULTURE is challenging. Before one fully embraces this culture, one would have learnt three things. First, one would have learnt that his culture is not the best. This entails the food eaten at the individual home. Secondly, one would have learnt that the language they speak in their native land is not the best, however nice it might be to speak. Finally, one would have learnt that whatever they do at home is not only what can be done. There are many and more essential things that could be done.

Let the integration of varied cultures bring the good, the common good, not harm. For in unity and diversity, a community can work wonders and miracles, just as it is said that prayers works wonders. Believe it. The one culture joined with other ‘one’ cultures to form ONE CULTURE should make members of the community what one ought to be and not what one’s egoism directs one. Do you believe this? Think about it!

Tolbert Odhiambo