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Introduction

Nearly everyone in ministry these days is aware of the complex tapestry of cultures that forms
the backdrop to how we operate in our parishes, schools, and agencies. A multicultural setting is
not something new in the Catholic Church.
Ministering in central Kenya specifically, one will realize the various diversity of cultures and
ethnic groups. According to John Oucho, the African population of Kenya consists of 42 tribes
who cherish their own values even when lumped into larger ethnic groups, which colonial
administration invented.1 Most of these tribes are distributed in the central Kenya with the
largest number being composed of the Bantus. The being of these ethnic groups in a parish
poses some challenges in ministry. Paul VI says, called to announce the Good News about
Jesus in every place and language on earth, the church has recognized that the Holy Spirit has
planted Seed of the word in every culture. 2 It is the task of missionaries and evangelizers
everywhere to nurture those seeds and bring to fruition in the light of Christian teaching. As a
church, our cultural diversity embodies the still unfolding story of the incarnation in every
language and culture of the world for the last two thousand years.
In this paper we shall seek to understand the meaning of culture, ethnicity, the parish and
ministry. We will also look at some of these challenges when ministering in these parishes
1 John O. Oucho, Undercurrents of Ethnic Conflicts In Kenya (Leiden: Koninklijke Brill NV,
2002), p. 38.

2 Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi (8 December 1975), 24: AAS 69 (1976),
711-761. No. 53.

where we have different ethnic groups with different cultures, and some of the recommended
solutions to these challenges.

CHAPTER I: UNDERSTANDING OF CONCEPTS

1.1. Ministry
According to Kathleen A. Cahalan,
Ministry is leading disciples through the practices of teaching, preaching, worship, pastoral care,
social ministry, and administration ; for the sake of discipleship lived in relationship to Gods
mission; as a public act discernable in word, deed, and symbol: on behalf of a Christian
community; as a gift received through faith, baptism, charism, and vocation that is acknowledged
by the community in rituals of commissioning, installation, and ordination; and as a practice that
exists within a diverse array of ecclesial contexts, roles, and relationships.3

Kathleen continues to explain her definition by adding that when we talk of ministry as leading
of the disciples, we think of those who took up the challenge of continuing Jesus ministry, the
apostles who founded and organized communities in the Roman Empire, who preached and
taught the faith, as leaders.4 The practice of the ministry of teaching, preaching, worship,
3 Kathleen A. Cahalan, Introducing the Practice of Ministry (Minnesota: Collegeville, 2010), p.
55.

4 Ibid., p. 57.

pastoral care, social ministry and administration involves learning to follow in the way of Christ
and teaching it through evangelization and catechesis and preaching the word of God in the
scriptures. As worship, ministry means joining together with Christ in Praise and thanksgiving.
Pastoral care arises from the call to practice neighbor love and forgiveness of self and others,
while social ministry arises from the call to be a prophetic neighbor. As administration, ministry
involves tending the goods of the earth and all creation. Ministers lead by administering and
governing the communitys resources, which arises from the demands of stewardship.

1.2. Culture
Allan G. Johnson defines Culture as, the accumulated store of symbols, ideas, and material
products associated with a social system, whether it be an entire society or a family. 5 To be
human is to be part of a culture. Humans are social beings born into groups where they live and
struggle to survive. Every human group, because of its culture, has a specific form of
communication: spoken, written, and acted out through gestures. Each individual is shaped by
culture and in turn shapes culture. Every culture has continuity and yet changes. Kenneth
McGuire adds that, culture provides tool kits or the different skills that enable people to
organize their experience and cope with their environment.6

5 Allan G. Johnson, The Blackwell Dictionary of Sociology, Second Edition (Malden, MA:
Blackwell Publishers, Inc., 2000), p. 73.

6 Kenneth McGuire, Eduardo C. Fernndez and Anne Hansen, Culture-Sensitive Ministry:


Helpful Strategies for Pastoral Ministers (New York: Paulist Press, 2010), p. 25.

Kenneth continues to say, culture includes concepts of space, time, values and beliefs. Each
culture is an interpretative framework for making sense of the reality of the experiences of life.
Each person in any given culture is uniquely different, even from others of the same culture, but
they associate with each other and share certain self-identities: they take these associations and
identities with them wherever they go.7

1.3. Ethnicity
According to Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Ethnicity is an aspect of social relationship between
agents who consider themselves as culturally distinctive from members of other groups with
whom they have a minimum of regular interaction. 8 According to this definition, ethnicity
denotes both the self-consciousness of belonging to an ethnic group and the dynamic process
that structures, and is structured by, ethnic groups in social interaction with one another. Adding
to this, Jack David Eller says that, ethnicity is, thus, subjective, even while it is based on, refers
to, or invokes objective or shared cultural or historical marker.9 No ethnic group treats all
aspects of its culture or history as markers of its identity: for any group, some elements of its
culture will be the same as those of another group, thus defeating the purpose of distinguishing

7Ibid., p. 27.

8 Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Ethnicity and Nationalism: Anthropological Perspectives


(Chippenham: Chase publishing services, 1993), p. 12.

9 Jack David Eller, From Culture to Ethnicity to Conflict: An Anthropological Perspective on


International Ethnic Conflict (Michigan: The University of Michigan Press, 1999), p. 9.

it from another group. Any part, no matter how small, of a groups trait list can make a perfectly
adequate ethnic marker.10

CHAPTER II: CHALLENGES FACED IN MINISTERING IN


MULTICULTURAL AND ETHNIC PARISHES
There are sound theological reasons for committing ourselves to understand other cultures and
appreciate them wherever possible. Making that commitment will unfold for us new and
wonderful dimensions of Gods character, for our God can be properly revealed only through
diversity. When God had finished creating the world, he looked at the vast array and announced
that it was very Good. (Genesis 1:31) to celebrate creation is to celebrate diversity, including
diversities of people, and we cannot celebrate out of ignorance.
In the recent past, the encounter of ministry with diverse cultures and ethnic groups has been
witnessed in our country Kenya. This is especially so in town parishes. The parishes in the arch10 Jack David Eller, p. 9.

diocese of Nairobi are occupied with people from all over the country for the obvious economic
purposes. Nairobi, being the capital city of Kenya, attracts many people from different cultures
and ethnic groups. The coming of these people to Nairobi does not mean that they forget the
culture from their villages where they come from.
The presence of these new people is also witnessed in the churches in Nairobi and the churches
surrounding Nairobi area. This poses a challenge in the field of ministering because the
ministers have the duty of incorporating all into the reception of the Gospel message. To do this,
ministers need to become aware of the challenges in their ministry so that they can find suitable
solutions for them. The challenges include; Cultural diversity, language barriers, disunity among
Christians, Cultural rigidity and also challenges in leadership.

2.1. Cultural Diversity


According to Leo C. Parvis,
Diversity of all sorts creates challenges. If people would not discriminate against each
other, there would be no significant challenges due to differences. The main attribute that
creates challenges is discrimination, which happens through racism, sexism, ageism,
classism, ableism, homophobia and many others.11

Cultural diversity may be understood both as a challenge and as a strong point in regard to
ministry in multicultural parishes. Parishes with different groups of people including the young,
the youths, the adults and the aged can be considered as an ideal Christian community. But each
group has its own culture depending of their family background, race and even tribe. Different
11Leo F. Parvis, Understanding Cultural Diversity in Today's Complex World (Minneapolis:
Embrace Publications and Consulting, LLC, 2005), p. 56.

from the general norms of each culture, there are specific values that go with the groups. Each
group seem to have its own culture different from the other.
In multicultural parishes where we have diversity of these cultures, a well prepared homily in a
liturgical celebration may very well suit the adults, but be very much out of context to the
children and the youths. Another homily may be suitable too to the youths but irrelevant to the
adults and the aged. These are some of the challenges which the ministers endure during their
ministry.

2.1.1. Children and Young Adults


In ministering to the young children and the youths, especially in the parishes in the archdiocese of Nairobi, one has to be well acquainted with their way of life. For a minister, it
becomes a challenge to woo them to get to listen to him. This is because the youths want
immediate gratification of their desires, which may sometimes be a difficult task to give
answers to their questions or provide for their material needs there and then. It is a time of
conflict in search for self-identity, trying to realize ones potentialities and even a time of
questioning the meaning of political structures and religious ideologies, to analyze the nature of
feelings, such as love and hate, and to attempt an understanding of the significance of life itself.
Being brought up in different cultures and consequently under different viewpoints in life, this
in itself poses a challenge to the ministers. Trying to bring meaning in the life of these young
people through the message of the Gospel becomes difficult. Their culture is too demanding on
the part of the minister.
The influence of technology on the life of the youth has also changed their view of looking at
life. They no more believe in revelation since now almost everything can be scientifically

proven. Science has taken the place of religion and the young people are the receivers of all this.
This makes it so hard for them to be evangelized.

2.1.2. The Adults and the Aged


The main challenges among the adults and the aged includes language and low receptivity rate.
Despite there being a good number of literate Christians in the parishes in Nairobi ArchDiocese, there is also evidently a group of people in the congregation who are illiterate. This
makes it hard since the use of the common languages such as Kiswahili or English becomes a
problem to them. This is especially so with the aged. The consequence of this is that they tend to
stick so much to their traditional cultures and beliefs at the expense of the gospel message.
This being the case, it poses yet another greater challenge. From the learning of the adults, the
church believes and expects that the home is the first school of Christian life, (CCC 1657).
This being the case then, the handing over of faith from parents to their children becomes
threatened. The results of this, is the bringing up of children who are spiritually malnourished.
The children may not turn to the traditional cultures and beliefs of their parents but they tend to
look for answers in our world of science which seem to provide answers to their inquisitive
nature.

2.2. Language Barriers


One thing that makes human beings different from plants and animals is the power of speech.
Michael G. Clyne says that,
The interaction of approaches to language contact encompasses four major functions of
language:

1.
2.
3.
4.

The most important medium of human communication.


A means by which people can identify themselves and others.
A medium of cognitive and conceptual development.
An instrument of action.
Linguistic behavior in relation to languages in contact is both an expression of multiple
identity and a response to multiple identity. It also constitutes the satisfaction of a need to
communicate and act in particular situations and follows an understanding of language as
a resource.12

This being the case then, we come to understand that language is one of the most important tool
in the parish ministry. The challenge comes in when the minister is not conversant with the
languages of the members of the congregation, or the members of the congregation themselves
are unable to pass information to the other due to lack of understanding amongst themselves.
In the Arch-Diocese of Nairobi, this is very evident since the congregations in the parishes are
composed of people from different parts of the country and each of these people have their
languages different from others. Since Nairobi is a metropolitan, there are Christians from all
over the country who have relocated to Nairobi from their home areas due to economic
purposes. These people become followers of the churches close to where they are living. The
aim of the minister as well as of the Christians is to feel at home at any place of worship. The
receptivity of the gospel message is far much effective if it is communicated in ones mother
tongue. Since the minister is not conversant with all the 42 tongues of the 42 tribes we have in
Kenya, then it becomes difficult to effectively pass the Gospel message to all people.

12 Michael G. Clyne, Dynamics of Language Contact: English and Immigrant Languages (New
York: Cambridge University Press, 2003), p. 2.

Karen Sue Smith insists that with language barrier, liturgy loses its meaning. This is because,
liturgy becomes a ritual that could be heard but not understood, it readily suggests separate
world into which the people could enter only through the mediation of one of the languages
practitioner.13

2.3. Disunity among Christians


The big question here is; what brings disunity among Christians? Discord or lack of harmony in
ideas, beliefs and values can be termed as one of the major contributors of disunity among the
Christian family. With disunity there are a lot of quarrels and disagreements.According to
Duane Elmer, Quarrels is the Greek word shismata, from which we get the English word
schism. This word was used in the garment industry to describe a piece of cloth that had
somehow become mangled, torn, stained, wrinkled and all together unattractive. 14 In many of
our parishes today, we can compare them analogically with this piece of cloth that is torn. Much
division has been witnessed in the church of which it is believed to be caused by poor
integration of cultures and religion. Jay Rumney shows the complexity of man to be, a
composite homo who in part is homo- economicus, in part homo-politicus, in part homoreligiosus, in part homo-aestheticus, and so on.15 In these characteristics of man, culture and
ethnic group from which one comes from has a great role in the life of every Christian because
they affect him or her in his or her way of life. Each ethnic group subscribe to a certain political
13 Karen Sue Smith, Priesthood in the Modern World: A Reader (New York: Sheed and Ward,
1999), p. 30-31.

14 Duane Elmer, Cross-Cultural Conflict: Building Relationships for Effective Ministry


(Madison: InterVarsity Press, 1993), p. 28-29.

line of thought which may be different from another ethnic group. This may affect their unity in
the church leading disharmony and conflicts. The ministers as shepherds to the whole flock, are
expected to bring harmony amongst all the members of the Christian family notwithstanding
these cultures that make them have so many diverging ideas. This is a great challenge in the
ministry.

2.4. Cultural Rigidity


Michael Conners says that,
Over the centuries, Christian faith has found itself confronted by, and embedded within, a
wide variety of social Milieux. Inevitably, the church both shapes and is shaped by the
cultural forces in which it lives. The founder of Christian movement himself, Jesus Christ
of Nazareth, has to be understood within the Jewish culture of 1 st-century Palestine. And
within a short time of his death, the followers of Jesus faced a serious crisis as their Good
News spread beyond Judaism and began to take up residence in the surrounding Gentile
Hellenistic culture (cf. Acts 15). The nexus of faith and culture has remained a profound
and controversial challenge through succeeding generations of Christianity.16

Our generation is not exempt from this challenge. This theological problem of culture has
grown even more acute in our time. Catholic Christians undergo some catechetical instructions
15 Jay Rumney, Herbert Spencer's Sociology: A Study in the History of Social Theory, to which
is Appended a Bibliography of Spencer and His Work Descriptive sociology (London:
Transaction Publishers, 1965), p. 37.

16 Michael Conners and Michael E. Corners, Inculturated Pastoral Planning: The U.S.
Hispanic Experience (Rome: Gregorian Biblical Bookshop, 2001), p. 2.

from the pre-catechumenate, through catechumenate instructions and then the post
catechumenate instructions. In this process one is considered to be fully integrated in the
catholic faith. But surprisingly, in the African heritage you still find that most of these Christians
even after their teaching, still hold on to their traditional African cultural practices, some of
which are contrary to the Gospel Message. Some scholar put in some arguments, like for
example, George F. Pickens, quoting from Philip Turner argues that instead of the
conservative, legalistic and pragmatic theology of most African Christians being reflective of
their Westernization, they rather describe a form of Christianity which fits easily with the many
(though not all) aspects of traditional cultures of Africa and which can with justice be called
adapted or even indigenous.17 While this in itself may be a positive thing, mostly the tendency
becomes the substitution of Christianity with the traditional beliefs because that is what seems
to give the desired results and with immediacy. The Christians are no longer patient they want
immediate gratification. This leads them to witchcraft sorcerers and fortune-tellers. If you go
round the roads of Nairobi, you find all over advertisements of witches put all over.
The ministers to these areas find it difficult to convince people on the dependence on Gods
providence and the persistence in prayer. The Christians have not been able to let go the
traditional beliefs which are at times misleading and are mostly done out of bad faith.

2.4. The Leadership Challenge


The fact of multiculturalism and diversity in parishes in the Archdiocese of Nairobi is an
undeniable fact. Pastoral leaders are required to have a wide variety of knowledge as pertains to
17George F. Pickens,

African Christian God-talk: Matthew Ajuoga's Johera Narrative

(Maryland: University press of America, Inc., 2004), p. 131.

their duties. They need to have knowledge of many languages. Inter-generational diversity is
increasingly becoming a challenge as younger generations interact with the church differently
from their parents and grandparents. Young adults are bringing new questions and long for
deeper understanding of liturgy. Martha R. Jewell observes that one of the challenges facing
pastoral leaders is the creation of a welcoming community in the mega-parishes that are being
created, and among people of different language and cultural backgrounds.18
Another challenge that pastoral leaders face is that of ensuring the rubrics are followed in
liturgical services. You find that due to the multiculturalism of the town parishes and the
existence of different ethnic groups, there is the tendency to want to integrate their cultures with
the Christian practice in order to make it live. But George Anthony Kelly warns that,
The thrust in our time for multicultural meaning in liturgical practice often comes out of
evangelistic protestant sources and weak doctrinal tradition, or out of a liberation
theology which proposes salvation in the social order, not in the kingdom Christ
preached. These movements reinforce the modern tendency toward individualism,
subjectivism and egalitarianism which de-solemnizes worship by turning the accent from
worship of God to emotional satisfaction for allegedly alienated or fragmented cultural
groups.19

18 Martha R. Jewell, Preparing Lay Parish Leaders for the 21st Century, (Washington DC:
ProQuest, 2009), p. 35.

19 George Anthony Kelly, A Pastor's Challenge: Parish Leadership in an Age of Division,


Doubt, and Spiritual Hunger (Huntington: Our Sunday Visitor Publishing, 1994), p. 103.

2.5. Group Ignorance


According to Schreiter C,
In most multicultural settings, the rst reaction is to try to avoid or ignore difference.
This takes two forms. It sometimes takes the form of ignoring the presences of another
group by rendering them invisible. In parishes we do this by assigning worship times for
such groups at times when the church building is not otherwise occupied. Or we consign
them to a space which is not central to worship, such as the parish hall or the school.
Their language and music does not gure into the regular liturgical celebrations, and their
food never appears in parish social events. Their special days are not acknowledged in
the cycle of celebrations in the parish, and images special to them are not present in the
church. At best, these groups are tolerated; at worst, they are ignored. 20

The other reaction is to cover over difference with a rhetoric of what Schreiter explains that,
we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. Difference doesnt make any difference in our
parish.21 This is important because, despite efforts to ignore cultural difference, it is the
difference to which we are continually drawn in interaction. Difference in accent, clothing, and
social patterns are too salient to be ignored. Sometimes that difference leads to stereotyping and
prejudice, making generalizations about others. Sometimes it leads to outright hostility.

20 Schreiter, C. "Just what do we want? Ministry in a multicultural world." New Theology


Review 13, (2013). no. 1

21 Ibid.,

CHAPTER III: THE WAY FORWARD TO THE MULTICULTURAL


AND ETHNIC PARISHES PASTORAL MINISTRY
Paul VI says that, the church does not feel dispensed from paying unflagging attention to those
who have received the faith and who have been in contact with the Gospel often for generations.
Thus, she seeks to deepen, consolidate, nourish and make ever more mature the faith of those
who are already called believers.22 This has to be done in the realm of the multicultural and
ethnic groups which are so evident in every corner of our Christian faith. The pontifical council
for culture came up with ways of curbing the challenges of the ministry in multicultural
parishes. Quoting from the John Paul II, the council argues that;
From the time the Gospel was first preached, the Church has known the process of
encounter and engagement with cultures (Fides et Ratio, 70), for it is one of the
properties of the human person that he can achieve true and full humanity only by means
of culture (Gaudium et Spes, 53). In this way, the Good News which is Christ's Gospel
for all men and the whole human person, both child and parent of the culture in which
they are immersed (Fides et Ratio, 71), reaches them in their own culture, which absorbs
their manner of living the faith and is in turn gradually shaped by it. 23

Guided by this insight then, the ministers in the multicultural and ethnic parishes need to come
up with ways to ensure that the Gospel message reaches all people and that proper integration of
22 Pope Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation: On Evangelization in the Modern World Evangelii
Nuntiandi, (8th December 1975): AAS 68 (1976) 711-761. No. 54.

23 Pontifical Council for Culture, Towards a Pastoral Approach to Culture, 20 May 1982, AAS
74 (1982) 683-688. No. 1.

religion and culture is achieved. This can be done in the following ways; respect for cultural
difference, inculturation, and also holding pastoral symposiums and seminars for pastoral
leaders.

3.1. Respect for Cultural Differences


If recognition of the other is the beginning of the journey toward intercultural relationship,
respect for cultural difference is a description of that journey underway. Tolerance may mean
putting up quietly with difference, perhaps with the silent hope that eventually it will go away.
Respect, however, means coming to the point that one values the difference in its own right, that
it adds to the richness of our relationship and to the richness of the world. It means coming to
see the cultural difference of the other not as a deviation from some norm, or a failure to reach a
certain level, but rather as having intrinsic value. Schreiter insists that we must strive to move
from ethnocentrism, that is, seeing ones own culture as the center, to ethno-pluralism, where
one respects and celebrates difference.24 This respect of cultural differences can be achieved
through,

acceptance of difference, in which one comes to accept that cultural difference will not
be going away, and that one must find other ways to deal with it than denial, defense, or

minimization.
adaptation to difference, in which one begins to change as a result of the interaction in
intercultural relationship.

24 Schreiter, C. "Just what do we want? Ministry in a multicultural world." New Theology


Review 13, (2013). no. 1.

integration of difference, in which those interactions now constitute an irreplaceable part


of ones own self: one would lose a sense of ones own identity if that cultural difference
were to be taken away.

All this requires an interaction and growing relationship that do not brush difference aside, but
engage it directly and frequently. The interaction and growing relationships needs to be nurtured
from the early stages of development, from childhood to adulthood. This enables the children
and the youth to grow with the awareness of the existence of other cultures and thus they should
be able to respect each of these cultures as unique just as the culture from which each has come
from is unique.

3.2. Inculturation
John Paul II emphasized on the importance of evangelization of cultures and the inculturation of
the Gospel. According to him, these two go hand in hand, in a reciprocal relationship which
presupposes constant discernment in the light of the Gospel, to facilitate the identification of
values and counter-values in a given culture, so as to build on the former and vigorously combat
the latter.25 John Paul II also says that,
Through inculturation the Church makes the Gospel incarnate in different cultures and at
the same time introduces peoples, together with their cultures, into her own community.
She transmits to them her own values, at the same time taking the good elements that
already exist in them and renewing them from within. Through inculturation the Church,

25 John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores dabo vobis (25 March 1992),
March 25, 1992: AAS 84 (1992) 657-804. No.55.

for her part, becomes a more intelligible sign of what she is, and a more effective
instrument of mission.26

In Africa, we have a rich cultural heritage which if tapped and integrated with the pastoral
activities of the church, could be very enriching. Through the various cultural ways of passing
on their wisdom, this could be incorporated with the Gospel message to bring more
understanding. For instance, among the Agikuyu community, which constitutes of the highest
number in the archdiocese of Nairobi, Oral literature forms an important part of the culture of
the Agikuyu people. Its chief purpose was to transmit knowledge and therefore each genre of
oral literature teaches a specific aspect of Gikuyu life. Riddles, for example, teach the
characteristics of natural things like the plants and animals, and proverbs contain the wisdom of
the people and express the morals and ethics of society. This wisdom teaching could be
integrated with the moral teachings of the Bible which will not only create a clear
understanding, but also the people will have something to associate themselves with.

3.3. Pastoral Symposiums and Seminars for Pastoral


Leaders
Due to the evolving nature of cultures by day, this has posed an immediate need for pastoral
ministers to keep themselves updated with the changing times. To create this awareness, it is
necessary that the ministers meeting in forums of discussions on emerging issues on their
pastoral ministries. Through sharing in symposia the ministers become more enlightened and in
turn they are able to enlighten the people under their care.
26 John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris Missio (December 7, 1990), 7: AAS 83 (1991),
255-256. No.52.

Seminars to provide training to increase the linguistic and cultural competence of parish
ministers are indispensable while ministering to multicultural parishes, since new groups will
always emerge. Clerical and lay, Paid and Volunteer, men and women, at a minimum, all these
people should have basic skills for intercultural communication. Even better would be a cultural
immersion experience in a program designed to surface ones own cultural assumptions from
the perspective of the other. Such experiences ant training should be integrated into the
curriculum in seminaries, and formation programs for the lay ministry, and the religious life.
In leadership also, there should be creation of pathways to leadership in the ministry for the
underrepresented ethnic groups. This gives them a sense of belonging and a feeling that that
they are not left out.
The leaders should strive to come up with a parish pastoral plan that describes the cultural,
linguistic and socioeconomic diversity of catholic faithful living within the parish boundaries,
identify the fundamental and urgent pastoral needs in the community, prioritize pastoral action
according to the most pressing needs and the ability of the parish community to respond to
them, and also foster the development of leadership skills and ministerial responsibility in every
segment of the parish population.

Conclusion
Pastoral approach to culture in its many forms has no other aim than to help the Church to fulfil
its mission of proclaiming the Gospel. Engaging in certain practices together creates solidarity
in a group and indicates belonging. Incorporating customs of a group into parish life and urging
all cultural groups in a parish to participate is an important kind of community builder.
Any plan to enhance intercultural communication must begin with a commitment to build and
sustain relationships. Majority culture Americans tend to be very goal-oriented. They like to
reduce a challenge to a problem which can be solved. Intercultural communication is not
something we achieve once and for all, and then move on to something else. Collective-minded
cultures have a stronger sense of relationship as an end in itself than do individualist cultures,
which tend to be more utilitarian in their relationships, seeing relationships as a means to an
end. This must be kept in mind as programs are developed to enhance intercultural
communication. Partnering among groups is not a short-term relationship to reach a goal, only
then to be abandoned.
Faced by the changing nature of our time, with the full force of the Word of God, the inspiration
of the whole of Christian living, is helping man to overcome the drama of atheistic humanism
and to create a new humanism capable of giving birth, throughout the world, to cultures
transformed by the prodigious newness of Christ who became man so that man might become

God, renew himself in the image of his Creator, and put on a new nature. Christ renews all
cultures through the creative power of the Holy Spirit, the infinite source of beauty, love and
truth.

Bibliography
Bible
The African Bible, Nairobi: Paulines Publications Africa, 1999.
Church Documents
Pontifical Council for Culture, Towards a Pastoral Approach to Culture, 20 May 1982, AAS 74
(1982) 683-688.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Nairobi: Paulines Publication Africa, 1995.
Papal Documents
John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores dabo vobis (25 March 1992), 25:
AAS 84 (1992), 657-804.
John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris Missio (December 7, 1990), 7: AAS 83 (1991),
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Pope Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation: On Evangelization in the Modern World Evangelii
Nuntiandi, (8th December 1975): 8: AAS 68 (1976), 711-761.
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Table of Contents
Introduction1
CHAPTER I: UNDERSTANDING OF CONCEPTS....................................................................2
1.1.Ministry....................................................................................................................................2
1.2.Culture......................................................................................................................................3
1.3.Ethnicity...................................................................................................................................4
CHAPTER II: CHALLENGES FACED IN MINISTERING TO MULTICULTURAL AND
ETHNIC PARISHES......................................................................................................................5
2.1. Cultural Diversity....................................................................................................................6
2.1.1. Children and Young Adults..................................................................................................6
2.1.2. The Adults and the Aged......................................................................................................7
2.2. Language Barriers...................................................................................................................8
2.3. Disunity among Christians......................................................................................................9
2.4. Cultural Rigidity....................................................................................................................10
2.4. The Leadership Challenge.....................................................................................................12
2.5. Group Ignorance....................................................................................................................13
CHAPTER III: THE WAY FORWARD TO THE MULTICULTURAL AND ETHNIC
PARISHES PASTORAL MINISTRY..........................................................................................14
3.1. Respect for Cultural Differences...........................................................................................15
3.2. Inculturation..........................................................................................................................16

3.3. Pastoral Symposiums and Seminars for Pastoral Leaders....................................................17


Conclusion....................................................................................................................................19
Bibliography.................................................................................................................................20