Zaire Use

Last updated

The Zaire Use (French : Rite zaïrois), officially the Roman Missal for the Dioceses of Zaire, is a Congolese liturgical use of the Roman Rite within the Catholic Church. Approved by the Vatican in 1988, it contains many elements from the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, but also incorporates elements from sub-Saharan African culture, particularly Congolese, including a number of inculturated liturgical modifications. [1]


Additionally, the term "Zaire Use" may refer to the other adjusted sacramental rites utilized by Congolese dioceses. [2]


Ruins of the Cathedral of the Holy Saviour of Congo in modern-day Angola, constructed 1491 as one of the first Catholic cathedrals in the Kingdom of the Congo. Kulumbimbi.png
Ruins of the Cathedral of the Holy Saviour of Congo in modern-day Angola, constructed 1491 as one of the first Catholic cathedrals in the Kingdom of the Congo.

The Zaire Use is largely a product of the Second Vatican Council's constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium , particularly the move "for legitimate variations and adaptations to different groups, regions, and peoples, especially in mission lands, provided that the substantial unity of the Roman rite is preserved." [3]

It follows the 1956 Masses of the Savanes in Upper Volta and of the Piroguieres and the 1958 Missa Luba in Zaire. [3] Following the 1970 authorization from the Congregation for the Divine Worship and the 1973 draft presentation of a new Order of the Mass from the Commission on Evangelization, the Episcopal Conference in Zaire approved its use experimentally. As the "Zairean Rite," it was adopted formally in 1985. [4]

It was officially promulgated by the decree Zairensium Dioecesium on April 30, 1988, by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Missel romain pour les diocèses du Zaïre (Roman Missal for the Dioceses of Zaire). [5] [6] The missal containing the rubrics and text of the Zaire Use is entitled Congolese Missal for the dioceses of Zaire. [7]

On 1 December 2019, Pope Francis celebrated Mass for the first Sunday of Advent in Saint Peter's Basilica using this rite to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the first chaplaincy for the Congolese Catholic community in Rome. [7] A year later, on 1 December 2020, Vatican News released a video statement in which Pope Francis announced that a book regarding the 1 December 2019 Mass authored by Sister Rita Mboshu Kongo would be released. [8] Sister Rita had spoken at the conclusion of the 2019 Mass. [9]

Differences from the Ordinary Form

Liturgical calendar

Under pressure from Zairean President Mobutu Sese Seko to remove Western influences as part of broader cultural reforms, [10] a 1975 synod of the Congolese Episcopal Conference chose not to celebrate various feasts venerating saints when they fall during the week, moving their celebration to the nearest Sunday. [11] This choice was approved by the Holy See. [2] Similar pressures from the Seko government inspired a revision of the practice of baptismal names, [11] with some families selecting traditionally native African names for common use and baptismal names such as "Grâce à Dieu" and "Gloire à Dieu." [2]

Adjustment of the liturgy

Distinct from the Ordinary Form, the congregation stands during the consecration of the Eucharist, rather than kneeling as is done in many regions using the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. [lower-alpha 1] There is also an "invocation of the Ancestors of upright heart" ("invocation ancêtres au coeur droit") in addition to the invocation of the saints. The intention of the former is the veneration of only "ancestors" "who have lived in an exemplary way." [2]

The Penitential Act is performed following the homily or the recitation of the Creed. One stated intention for this placement is that only after listening to scripture that the congregation is able to seek forgiveness. [2] The Sign of Peace immediately follows the Penitential Act, predicated on the Gospels calling for the need for reconciliation with one's neighbor before offering one's gift at the altar (i.e., the Liturgy of the Eucharist). In other forms of the Roman Rite, the sign occurs within the Communion rite. [13]

Additionally, priests offering the Mass in the Zaire Use are to dress in traditionally African priestly vestments. [1]

Participation of the laity

The Zaire Use was created with intention to better incorporate the congregation into the celebration of the Mass. To do this, responses were added, including one at the conclusion of the homily and Eucharistic prayer. [1] Additionally, the congregation is explicitly welcomed to raise their hands for the Lord's Prayer, a practice variously allowed [14] or prohibited [15] by episcopal conferences utilizing the Ordinary Form. [2]

Due to awareness of culturally normative displays of respect and attentiveness in the Congo, the congregation sits for the reading of the Gospel. An announcer also calls the congregation to attention at points in the liturgy. Dancing among the congregants is permitted. [2]

See also


  1. Per Paragraph 43 2010 Roman Missal: "The faithful should stand from the beginning of the Entrance chant, or while the priest approaches the altar, until the end of the collect; for the Alleluia chant before the Gospel; while the Gospel itself is proclaimed; during the Profession of Faith and the Prayer of the Faithful; from the invitation, Orate, fratres (Pray, brethren), before the prayer over the offerings until the end of Mass..." [12]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Roman Missal</span> Central book of the most widespread Catholic liturgical rite

The Roman Missal is the title of several missals used in the celebration of the Roman Rite. Along with other liturgical books of the Roman Rite, the Roman Missal contains the texts and rubrics for the celebration of the most common liturgy and Mass of the Catholic Church.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mass (liturgy)</span> Type of worship service within many Christian denominations

Mass is the main Eucharistic liturgical service in many forms of Western Christianity. The term Mass is commonly used in the Catholic Church, Western Rite Orthodoxy, Old Catholicism, and Independent Catholicism. The term is used in some Lutheran churches, as well as in some Anglican churches. The term is also used, on rare occasion, by other Protestant churches.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mass of Paul VI</span> Type of liturgical rite in the Roman Catholic Church

The Mass of Paul VI, also known as the Ordinary Form or Novus Ordo, is the most commonly used liturgy in the Catholic Church. It is a form of the Latin Church's Roman Rite, and was promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1969 and published by him in 1970; it was then revised in the 1975 edition of the Roman Missal, further revised by Pope John Paul II in 2000, and published in a third edition in 2002.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tridentine Mass</span> Form of liturgy in the Roman Rite

The Tridentine Mass, also known as the Traditional Latin Mass or the Traditional Rite, is the liturgy in the Roman Missal of the Catholic Church published from 1570 to 1962. Celebrated almost exclusively in Ecclesiastical Latin, it was the most widely used Eucharistic liturgy in the world from its issuance in 1570 until the introduction of the Mass of Paul VI.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Anglican Use</span> Roman Rite liturgical use of former Anglicans in the Catholic Church

The Anglican Use, also known as Divine Worship, is a use of the Roman Rite celebrated by the personal ordinariates, originally created for former Anglicans who converted to Catholicism while wishing to maintain "aspects of the Anglican patrimony that are of particular value" and includes former Methodist converts to Catholicism who wish to retain aspects of Anglican and Methodist “heritage, liturgy, and tradition. As a use of the Roman Rite, its most common occurrence is within parishes of the personal ordinariates which were erected in 2009. Upon the promulgation of Divine Worship: The Missal, and the term "Anglican Use" was replaced by "Divine Worship" in the liturgical books and complementary norms, though "Anglican Use" is still used to describe these liturgies as they existed from the papacy of John Paul II to present.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kyrie</span> Common name of a Christian liturgical prayer

Kyrie, a transliteration of Greek Κύριε, vocative case of Κύριος (Kyrios), is a common name of an important prayer of Christian liturgy, also called the Kyrie eleison.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Missal</span> Liturgical book

A missal is a liturgical book containing instructions and texts necessary for the celebration of Mass throughout the liturgical year. Versions differ across liturgical tradition, period, and purpose, with some missals intended to enable a priest to celebrate Mass publicly and others for private and lay use. The texts of the most common Eucharistic liturgy in the world, the Catholic Church's Mass of Paul VI of the Roman Rite, are contained in the 1970 edition of the Roman Missal. Missals have also been published for earlier forms of the Roman Rite and other Latin liturgical rites. Other liturgical books typically contain the Eucharistic liturgies of other ritual traditions, but missals exist for the Byzantine Rites, Eastern Orthodox Western Rites, and Anglican liturgies.

The ordinary, in Roman Catholic and other Western Christian liturgies, refers to the part of the Mass or of the canonical hours that is reasonably constant without regard to the date on which the service is performed. It is contrasted to the proper, which is that part of these liturgies that varies according to the date, either representing an observance within the liturgical year, or of a particular saint or significant event, or to the common which contains those parts that are common to an entire category of saints such as apostles or martyrs.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Roman Rite</span> Most widespread liturgical rite in the Roman Catholic Church

The Roman Rite is the most common ritual family for performing the ecclesiastical services of the Latin Church, the largest of the sui iuris particular churches that comprise the Catholic Church. The Roman Rite governs rites such as the Roman Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours as well as the manner in which sacraments and blessings are performed. It developed in the Latin language in the city of Rome and, while distinct Latin liturgical rites such as the Ambrosian Rite remain, the Roman Rite has gradually been adopted almost everywhere in the Latin Church. In medieval times there were numerous local variants, even if all of them did not amount to distinct rites, yet uniformity increased as a result of the invention of printing and in obedience to the decrees of the Council of Trent of 1545–63. Several Latin liturgical rites that survived into the 20th century were abandoned voluntarily after the Second Vatican Council. The Roman Rite is now the most widespread liturgical rite not only in the Catholic Church but in Christianity as a whole.

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM)—in the Latin original, Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani (IGMR)—is the detailed document governing the celebration of Mass of the Roman Rite in what since 1969 is its normal form. Originally published in 1969 as a separate document, it is printed at the start of editions of the Roman Missal since 1970.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pre-Tridentine Mass</span> Forms of the liturgical rite of the Mass in Rome before 1570

Pre-Tridentine Mass refers to the variants of the liturgical rite of Mass in Rome before 1570, when, with his bull Quo primum, Pope Pius V made the Roman Missal, as revised by him, obligatory throughout the Latin Church, except for those places and congregations whose distinct rites could demonstrate an antiquity of two hundred years or more.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Latin liturgical rites</span> Category of Catholic rites of public worship

Latin liturgical rites, or Western liturgical rites, is a large family of liturgical rites and uses of public worship employed by the Latin Church, the largest particular church sui iuris of the Catholic Church, that originated in Europe where the Latin language once dominated. Its language is now known as Ecclesiastical Latin. The most used rite is the Roman Rite.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Catholic Church in the Democratic Republic of the Congo</span>

Catholicism has a major presence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). It is part of the worldwide Catholic Church under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Catholic liturgy</span> Customary public worship service as performed by the Latin Church

In the Catholic Church, liturgy is divine worship, the proclamation of the Gospel, and active charity. Catholic liturgies are broadly categorized as the Latin liturgical rites of the Latin Church and the Eastern Catholic liturgies of the Eastern Catholic Churches.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mass in the Catholic Church</span> Central liturgical ritual of the Catholic Church

The Mass is the central liturgical service of the Eucharist in the Catholic Church, in which bread and wine are consecrated and become the body and blood of Christ. As defined by the Church at the Council of Trent, in the Mass "the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross, is present and offered in an unbloody manner". The Church describes the Mass as the "source and summit of the Christian life", and teaches that the Mass is a sacrifice, in which the sacramental bread and wine, through consecration by an ordained priest, become the sacrificial body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ as the sacrifice on Calvary made truly present once again on the altar. The Catholic Church permits only baptised members in the state of grace to receive Christ in the Eucharist.

Summorum Pontificum is an apostolic letter of Pope Benedict XVI, issued in July 2007. This letter specifies the circumstances in which priests of the Latin Church could celebrate mass according to what Benedict XVI called the "Missal promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962" and administer most of the sacraments in the form used before the liturgical reforms that followed the Second Vatican Council.

The liturgical books of the Roman Rite are the official books containing the words to be recited and the actions to be performed in the celebration of Catholic liturgy as done in Rome. The Roman Rite of the Latin or Western Church of the Catholic Church is the most widely celebrated of the scores of Catholic liturgical rites. The titles of some of these books contain the adjective "Roman", e.g. the "Roman Missal", to distinguish them from the liturgical books for the other rites of the Church.

Order of Mass is an outline of a Mass celebration, describing how and in what order liturgical texts and rituals are employed to constitute a Mass.

Traditionis custodes is an apostolic letter issued motu proprio by Pope Francis, promulgated on 16 July 2021 regarding the continued use of pre-Vatican II rites. It restricts the celebration of the Tridentine Mass of the Roman Rite, sometimes colloquially called the "Latin Mass" or the "Traditional Latin Mass". The apostolic letter was accompanied by an ecclesiastical letter to the Catholic bishops of the world.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Preconciliar rites after the Second Vatican Council</span>

In the Catholic Church, the use of preconciliar rites after the Second Vatican Council has resulted in certain Latin liturgical rites coexisting with older versions of those same rites. In the postconciliar years, i.e. years following the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI initiated a significant change of the Roman Rite, which precipitated certain other Latin rites being similarly reformed. Some of those among Paul VI's contemporaries who considered the changes to the Roman Rite Mass to be too drastic obtained from him limited permission for the continued use of the previous version of that rite's missal. In the years since, the Holy See has granted varying degrees of permission to celebrate the Roman Rite and other Latin rites in the same manner as was done prior to the council. The use of preconciliar rites is associated with the movement known as traditionalist Catholicism.


  1. 1 2 3 Kangas, Billy (1 January 2013). "The Roman Missal for the Dioceses of Zaire". The Orant. Patheos. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya (August 2016). "Proceedings of the Third African National Eucharistic Congress: Responding to the New Evangelization: The African Catholic Family, A Gift to the Church in America" (PDF). Liturgy Inculturated in the Congo. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops . Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  3. 1 2 Chase, Nathan. "A History and Analysis of the Missel Romain pour les Dioceses du Zaire". Obsculta. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  4. "Missal for the Dioceses of Zaire". Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  5. New Catholic Encyclopedia 2003. The Gale Group Inc.
  6. Chupungco, Anscar J. (1982). Liturgies of the Future. Paulist Press. ISBN   9781597526890 . Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  7. 1 2 D'Emilio, Frances (1 December 2019). "Joyous Congolese Dances, Songs Enliven St. Peter's Basilica". U.S. News & World Report. Associated Press. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  8. "Pope: Zairean rite can serve as example and model for other cultures". Vatican News-English. Vatican News. 1 December 2020. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  9. Wooden, Cindy (2 December 2019). "Pope celebrates Mass with Congolese, sharing hopes for peace". Catholic News Service. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  10. Shaw, Karl (2005) [2004]. Power Mad![Šílenství mocných] (in Czech). Praha: Metafora. p. 204. ISBN   978-80-7359-002-4.
  11. 1 2 Andre, Titre (2010). Leadership and Authority: Bula Matari and Life-Community Ecclesiology in Congo. ISBN   9781610974370 . Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  12. "The General Instruction of the Roman Missal" (PDF). 2010. Retrieved 3 December 2020.
  13. Da Silva, Richardo (7 December 2020). "Explainer: What is the Zaire rite—and why is Pope Francis talking about it now?". America . Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  14. Feuerherd, Peter (29 June 2017). "Should we hold hands or not during the Our Father?". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  15. "Mass Practices: Holding hands during the Lord's Prayer at Mass". The CatholicNews Singapore. 28 February 2019. Retrieved 30 January 2020.

Further reading