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Zairean Rite Celebrated in Rome – A Clarification

On the Liturgy as celebrated in the Congo.

I enjoyed watching the “Zairean rite” celebrated with Pope Francis at St Peter’s. It brought back many happy memories.

The overall impression of a Liturgy celebrated in the Joy of the Gospel was very positive.

But there are a few elements that did not get sufficient attention:

– the celebrants process in accompanied by a ‘team’ of up to twelve servers, including two elders.

– in addition to the usual responses to the celebrant, the congregation are often invited to respond: to the ‘Annonciateur’(a kind of M.C.); to the readers; at the reception of the offertory gifts; with a repeated refrain during the sung preface and during the doxology at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer.

– the invocation of the Saints at the beginning is inspiring; but the new element in this liturgy is the invocation of the good ancestors, friends of God before the Evangelisation.

– the Gloria, with the whole joyful congregation dancing, could be inspiring; but it would have been good to hear the text, praising God on high and asking for Peace here below. However, the Gloria involves a group performing ritual dancing round the altar with the incense, honouring and focussing attention on the focal point of the Liturgy – which is both altar of Sacrifice and  table of Communion.

– the moving of the penitential rite was not presented clearly at the beginning, but became clearer later on. We hear the Word of God and the pastoral explanation of it in the homily, and we profess our faith…. Then we reflect, and admit we have not lived up to that faith, asking forgiveness.

– Remembering our baptism we are sprinkled with purifying water.

– Having been reconciled with God, we then ask to be reconciled with each other, exchanging a “kiss of peace”.

The Liturgy then continues with prayers of intercession and the offertory……

 John D.Kirwan MHM

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