African Practices at Mass
  • EvaS
    Posts: 13
    My work parish celebrates a Multicultural Mass once a year on Pentecost Sunday. I was wondering if anyone is familiar with West African practices at Mass. For example, are the Offertory procession with singing and dancing, and the laity's singing aloud during the Elevation authentic practices that are accepted as norms in West Africa? Or are these considered liturgical abuses in the African churches? Every year I ask myself the same question: How many of these ethnic variants should be tolerated here at a North American parish?
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,015
    I am not familiar with the permitted inculturations in dioceses of west Africa, but am aware that, in 1988, Rome approve a specific version of the Roman Missal with a broad number of local inculturations for what was then known as Zaire (and thus the so-called "Zaire Use") in central Africa. That would not go to the issue of licitness outside those areas, but it would go to whether they would be considered abuses within those areas.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,916
    I know that the Nigerian prayer group which provided the music at a monthly Mass at our church (in England) did neither of these things. They sang a lot of repetetive 'call - response' with a leader and a drum, and were very happy to have a Latin ordinary with one of our cantors, in which they participated more enthusiastically than the regular parishoners. I think there is a wide cultural diversity in West Africa.
    Thanked by 2CharlesW CHGiffen
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,812
    At our OF parish (that has daily Traditional Mass), we have an Afro-Caribbean group that used to have monthly Masses but are now yearly. Last time they came their choir leader with Drums came early, during our EF Mass, so sat and listened.

    After the Mass he stopped me to congratulate us on the Chant we were singing, and how he enjoyed hearing 6 strong male singers. I was so surprised that it only occurred to me later that I should have invited him to come and sing chant with us (without the drums).

    At least with the Africans many are familiar with chant and Latin, with a tribal culture sometimes it is safer to use Latin than one of the local dialects. As for the Congo, the colonial name is back in use as local names are Tribe specific.