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The Holy Father’s Video Message on Occasion of Presentation of Volume on Congolese Rite of Celebration of Mass

‘I rejoice to be able to connect with you in this very important event for the Church in Africa’

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Here is a translation of the text of the Video-Message that the Holy Father sent to the participants in the presentation of the volume on the Congolese Rite of the Celebration of the Mass, published by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

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The Holy Father’s Video-Message

I rejoice to be able to connect with you in this very important event for the Church in Africa. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to unite myself to this event of the presentation of the volume on the Congolese Rite of the celebration of the Mass. A year after the celebration of the Mass over which I presided in the Congolese Rite in Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Libreria Editrice Vaticana has published a volume on the event. The volume is edited by Sister Rita Mboshu Kongo and has as subtitle “A Promising Rite for Other Cultures.” In fact, this subtitle indicates the fundamental motive, which is the basis of this publication: a book that is the testimony of a celebration lived with faith and with joy. The spiritual and ecclesial meaning and the pastoral end of the Eucharistic celebration in the Congolese Rite were the basis of the writing of the volume. The principles of the necessity of the scientific study, of the adaptation, and of the active participation in the Liturgy, strongly desired by the Council, guided the authors of this volume.  Being the first and only inculturated rite of the Latin Church approved after Vatican Council II, the experience of the Congolese Rite of the celebration of the Mass can be useful as an example and model for other cultures. One of the main contributions of the Vatican Council II was, in fact, that of proposing norms of adaptation of the character and the traditions of various peoples. As Saint John Paul II said to the Bishops of the Congo in their visit ad limina Apostolorum on April 23, 1988, I exhort you to commit yourselves in the same way for the whole of the ritual of the Sacraments and Sacramentals that you have in view to complete this Rite.

We recall what we said explicitly in Querida Amazonia: “in fact, to bring together in the Liturgy many elements of the experience of the Indians in their intimate contact with nature and stimulate native expressions in songs, dances, rites, gestures, and symbols. Vatican Council II had already required this effort of inculturation of the Liturgy in indigenous peoples, however, more than 50 years have passed and we have made little progress in this direction” (n. 82). The Congolese Rite of the Eucharistic celebration values the different languages, colors, and body movements that interact leveraging all the dimensions of the faithful’s personalities, always taking into account the specific values of every people.

Dear brothers and sisters, this publication reminds us that the true protagonist of the Congolese Rite is the People of God that sings and praises God. The God of Jesus Christ who has saved us.

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
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