How do we inculturate the feast of Pentecost in
Africa? When we pray the Our Father together we pray in different languages
especially in our first or heart language that might be Swahili, Gikuyu, Luo,
Luganda or Chewa. This recalls the first Pentecost Sunday described in the Acts
of the Apostles and shows the universality of our Local Church. Our African
Church, our diocese, our parish, our Small Christian Community becomes a rainbow
of different languages, cultures and religious practices. Pentecost celebrates
the miracle of unity in diversity. The Holy Spirit has always been at work in
people and their cultures. The African Church both brings a gift and receives a
gift in the process of inculturation.
Then we symbolize our missionary solidarity with people
around the world on Pentecost by substituting the word "food" for "bread" in
saying the Our Father. Many African languages do not have a word for bread that
is still unknown to many African people whose staple food is yams or corn meal
or unsweetened bananas. Even in many countries in Asia the staple food is rice.
Thus in many languages the translation of Matthew 6:11 is "Give us this day our
daily food." This global solidarity also reminds us of the millions of people
around the world who only have one good meal a day.