Who would deny the fact that we Africans have invested so much faith in western religions to the extent of disowning our own!
Well, perhaps it is as a result of the way it has been passed on to us. Most of us generally perceive African Traditional Religion (ATR) from a negative perspective only, so we tend to associate it with superstition and harmful practices such as witchcraft. This shallow perception has indeed led us to misunderstand the real meaning and significance of ATR, generation after generation.
However, from the workshop we had in July with Br. Amandi Mboya, from the East Africa District, I realised that ATR is more of good than ‘evil’. The workshop helped us first-year novices to understand some of the challenging areas and issues within African Tradition Spirituality.
During the discussions, we discovered that there are some similarities between ATR and the western religions, such as Christianity. The similarity came out quite vividly especially in relation to the belief in one transcendent creator/supreme being; the use of rituals and sacrifices during important occasions; the belief in a spiritual world; and the interconnectedness of humankind and the rest of creation. Because of this, there has been some adoption of customs and practices from ATR in Christian life.
We finally reflected on the possibilities of incorporating some of the helpful traditional practices during our community prayer and liturgies (e.g. Eucharistic celebrations). This was clearly taken as a challenge.
It was indeed a fruitful workshop which, I believe, brought a more holistic growth and vision.
We sincerely express our gratitude to ‘professor’ Amandi for this fabulous contribution to our ongoing formation programme.
Amandi’s visit coincided with short visits from two other “distinguished” guests – Br. Richard Walsh from Lusaka, our Africa Province Leader, and Br. Pious Conteh, the West Africa District Mission Development Officer. As the photos show, their visit was not all work, and they enjoyed the hospitality of our Brothers in the Choggu community here in Tamale.
Br. Amandi and the nine novices,
looking smart in their “CB Novices” shirts.