Urban Chidi Osuji D.Min.
LANGUAGE FOR EFFECTIVE PREACHING
PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR FIDEI DONUM PRIESTS
IN BELLEVILLE DIOCESE
Urban Osuji, C.M., B.D., M.P.S., D.Min. Aquinas Institute of Theology, St. Louis, Missouri, 2020.
Culture as an inherited conception that has to do with what a person learns from the parents and the society about what it means to be a human being. These include the totality of the norms, ways of acting, and understanding that people learn from cradle which helps them know how to fit into the world. As a child grows in the society the child learns the culture’s general assumptions about family relations, relations between men and women, attitude towards life and death. Of all these inherited conceptions, language is the most symbolic of them all.
The hypothesis is that Fidei Donum Priests can be effective preachers by attending to the linguistic idioms, imageries, phrases, and sentence construction of the local congregation. The language of preaching is the concrete language of everyday life. Preaching language is the language that the children hear and understand and when they do not understand, as their mothers offer a simpler understanding of the language with stories and imageries. Stories and imageries create and leave impressions on the emotional life of the people. When preachers use stories, imageries, and metaphors in preaching, listeners identify God’s presence in their midst.
But the use of concrete language in preaching does not come easy to the missionaries. Therefore, preachers must immerse themselves by taking time to go to the people, live among them, share their lives and learn their language including imageries, metaphors, and stories that have significant value for them. Their choice of words, especially with imageries and metaphors, shows appropriate concern for the effective proclamation of the gospel.