Pope Francis said in a video message published December 1 that inculturated liturgy can teach Catholics to better appreciate the diverse gifts of the Holy Spirit.
In a preface to a new book, Pope Francis said “this process of liturgical inculturation in Congo is an invitation to value the various gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are a treasure for all humanity.”
A year ago, Pope Francis offered Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for Congolese immigrants, marking the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the Congolese Catholic Chaplaincy of Rome.
The inculturated Mass included traditional Congolese music and the Zaire Use of the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite.
The Zaire Use is an inculturated Mass formally approved in 1988 for the dioceses of what was then known as the Republic of Zaire, now called the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in central Africa.
The only inculturated Eucharistic celebration approved after the Second Vatican Council, the Zaire Use was developed following a call for adaptation of the liturgy in Sacrosanctum Concilium, Vatican II’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.
“One of the main contributions of the Second Vatican Council was precisely that of proposing norms for adapting to the disposition and traditions of various peoples,” the pope said.
“The experience of the Congolese rite of the celebration of Mass can serve as an example and model for other cultures,” the pope said in the video message.
He urged the bishops of Congo, as St. Pope John Paul II did during the bishops’ visit to Rome in 1988, to complete the rite by also adapting the other sacraments and sacramentals.
The pope sent the video message in advance of the Vatican’s publication of the Italian-language book, Pope Francis and the ‘Roman Missal for the Dioceses of Zaire.’
Francis said that the subtitle, “A Promising Rite for Other Cultures,” “indicates the fundamental reason behind this publication: a book that is the testimony of a celebration lived with faith and joy.”