Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Africa again

Back in the 80's Rome made a pretty different rite for the Mass available in what was then Zaire and is now the "Democratic Republic of the Congo". Nowhere else in Africa was this replicated, as far as I know. There are some snippets of it being performed here and there on the net. Although, like many African places, it is a complete societal mess, they sure can sing and dance.

Its Penitential Rite comes later in the liturgy than in the current Roman (a good idea btw); the Mass opens with an invocation of the Saints (and the ancestors). But there are some images in the Penitential Rite which I find pretty striking and original. I have marked them in italics.

Brothers and sisters, the word of God has enlightened us. We know that we have not always followed it. Let us ask the Lord to give us the strength we need to lead better lives.

Silent pause; and then, the people express their sorrow by taking up an attitude of repentance: head slightly bowed, arms crossed on the breast.

Lord our God, like the insect that sticks into our skin and sucks our blood, evil has come upon us. Our living power is weakened. Who can save us? Is it not you, O Father;
Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy

Before you, O Father, before the Virgin Mary, before all the saints we confess that we have done wrong: Give us the strength we need to lead better lives.
Christ have mercy. Christ have mercy

Before our brothers, before our sisters, we confess that we have done wrong: give us the strength to lead better lives, save us from falling back into the shadows.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy

Most Holy Father, weaken in us whatever drives us to evil; forgive our faults because of the sacrifice of your Son Jesus Christ; may your Spirit take possession of our hearts and may our sins be drowned in the deep and silent waters of your mercy.

In a solemn Mass the celebrant sprinkles the people with holy water and a song with a baptismal theme is sung such as Asperges Me or Vidi Aquam.

The Sign of Peace is then exchanged.
...may our sins be drowned in the deep and silent waters of your mercy."

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