San Antonio, Texas, Congregation Celebrates the Congolese Way.
In 1969, four years after the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council, the bishops of the Democratic Republic of the Congo petitioned the Vatican for permission to use a new rite that spoke to the needs of Catholics in the sub-Saharan African nation.
Nineteen years and two popes later, that permission was granted. By 1988, though, the country’s name had been changed to Zaire, so the liturgical rite became known as the Zairian rite.
Less than a decade later, the country was renamed the Democratic Republic of the Congo, better known simply as Congo. The name of the rite remains, though, said Congolese Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, which is the capital of the country.
During the first African Mass in San Antonio on Sunday November 24th, non-Africans got a taste of a joyful Eucharistic Celebration in the African way: the role of Altar servers and liturgical dancers in African liturgies cannot be underestimated. Eucharistic celebration is truly a celebration where everybody gets involved, there are no spectators.
(Bosco Miller (aka Bongbende) is a former student of the Likong’a Nguwa secondary school at Bonkita, Basankusu, DR Congo. He later emigrated to the U.S. and for years now has animated the African choir at his parish in San Antonio, Texas)
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