Pope welcomes French translation of the book on Congolese Missal

Pope Francis writes the preface to the French translation of the book “Pope Francis and the Roman Missal for Dioceses in Zaire”, written by Sister Rita Mboshu Kongo and edited by the Vatican Publishing House.

By Lisa Zengarini

Pope Francis has penned the preface for a French translation of a book by a Congolese nun on the Missal for the Zaire Usage of the Roman Rite, which was presented on Monday in the Vatican.

The Missal for use in former Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo – DRC) was introduced after the Second Vatican Council to adapt the Roman liturgy to the Congolese language and culture, as instructed by the Constitution “Sacrosanctum Concilium”On the Sacred Liturgy (1963).

The Author

Titled “Le Pape François et le Missel Roman pour les dioceses du Zaïre” (“Pope Francis and the Roman Missal for Dioceses in Zaire”), the book was written by Sister Rita Mboshu Kongo, and edited by the Vatican Publishing House (LEV) .

The publication comes in the context of Pope Francis’ now-postponed Apostolic Journey to the African country in early July, which had to be rescheduled because of his ongoing knee pain.

Only “inculturated” Roman Missal since Vatican II

In his preface, Pope Francis welcomes the book, highlighting the “inimitive contribution of the liturgy, ‘source and summit of the Church’s activity’, in the transmission of the faith” the Congolese people have inherited from their ancestors.

He further remarks that the Missel Romain for the Diocese of Zaïre is the only “inculturated” Roman missal born of the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council.

“The Congolese rite of the Eucharistic celebration is certainly the fruit of missionary preaching under the African sun and which was collected at dawn. In its triple fidelity to the faith and to the apostolic tradition, to the intimate nature of the Catholic liturgy itself, and finally to the religious genius and the African and Congolese cultural heritage, the Missel Romain pour les Diocèses du Zaïre is the only ‘inculturated ‘Roman missal, born of the liturgical reform of Vatican II. “

Noting that the Missal for the Zaire Usage is the “fruit of long years of research, experience on the spot and fruitful collaboration between the Holy See and the Church in Congo,” Pope Francis points out that it has perfectly achieved the objectives assigned to it. ”

“The ‘Missel Romain pour les Diocèses du Zaïre’ allows the Congolese to pray in their language, with their body and soul, and to use symbols that are familiar to them.”

A model for other Churches

The Pope, therefore, proposes the Congolese rite of the Eucharist celebration as a “model for other Churches seeking an appropriate liturgical expression to the inculturation of the Gospel.”

“The immense importance of a culture marked by faith cannot be overlooked. In the face of the onslaught of contemporary secularism, an evangelized culture, for all its limits, has many more resources than the mere sum total of believers. An evangelized popular culture contains values ​​of faith and solidarity capable of encouraging the development of a more just and believing society, and possesses a particular wisdom which ought to be gratefully acknowledged. ”

Concluding his preface, Pope Francis invites the Congolese Church to commit himself in the same way to the translation and adaptation of the rites of the Sacraments and sacramentals, as called for by Pope St. John Paul II during the ad limina Apostolorum visit to Rome of the Congolese bishops in 1988.

Pope celebrating Mass for Rome’s Congolese community on 3 July

Following the announcement of the postponement of his trip to the African nations of the DRC and South Sudan, Pope Francis said he would celebrate Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for Rome’s Congolese community on July 3, the day he was set to celebrate Mass in the Congolese capital, Kinshasa.

A Christian nation

90% of Congolese are Christians, equalling some 81 million people, with Catholics accounting for 33% of the country’s population.

The origins of Christianity in the country date back to the late 15th century, when King Kongo Nzinga Nkuwu was converted by Portuguese missionaries. The last Pope to visit the DRC, then called Zaire, was John Paul II in 1985.


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