St. Augustine's methods of preaching: A model for renewing the preaching ministry in an African context

Joseph Kahumburu Kiragu, Fordham University


This dissertation, briefly examines the status of liturgical preaching in the Catholic Church in Kenya in light of the homiletic renewal called for by the Vatican II Ecumenical Council, so as to recover the biblical and dialogical preaching of the Church Fathers as represented in the historical portrait of St. Augustine the preacher. Accordingly, this study, while applying the historical, theological, and qualitative methodological modes of inquiry, attempts to accomplish three main tasks: to assess the homiletic challenges which the Church in Kenya must address, to interpret Augustine's theory and practice of preaching as portrayed in his sermones ad populum, and to apply this theory to the Kenyan situation. As an historically situated research, this dissertation has profound implications for the transformation of both the agents of preaching and the Kenyan society at large. Although, as results of this study reveal, not every homiletic approach that Augustine used can be relevant in the cultural context of the Church in Kenya, Augustine's theory and practice of preaching offer practical insights worthy of consideration by contemporary preachers. As suggested, an understanding of Augustine's rich theology of preaching not only can pave the way for the recovery of the biblical, liturgical, kerygmatic, and familiar elements that characterized the homiletic preaching of the Church Fathers, but also challenge preachers to reflect on the story of successes and failures of contemporary preaching ministry in the Kenyan situation as narrated by people who were interviewed. Such a reflection might lead to the identification of African styles of preaching that could serve as aids for clarifying the meaning of biblical texts that are read at the liturgy, skills that are analogous to but different from those that characterized the theory and practice of Augustine's preaching ministry. Furthermore, this study encourages preachers and religious educators to seek solutions to some of the perplexing problems of the present from the wisdom of the Church Fathers. This suggestion is based on the assumption that today, the process of renewing the multifaceted aspects of the Church's life, theology, liturgy, preaching, cannot ignore the traditions from which these practices arose.

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Recommended Citation

Kahumburu Kiragu, Joseph, "St. Augustine's methods of preaching: A model for renewing the preaching ministry in an African context" (2008). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3312007.