Need a lift? Here you go!
Dancing nuns and a dancing deacon? Yes. Take a few minutes to watch. You won’t be sorry.
This is the “Alleluia” before the Gospel, and the proclamation of the Gospel, at the installation Mass of the new archbishop for the Archdiocese of Castries, in St. Lucia, last week.
And it’s just wonderful. (To learn more about the unique rite used for this celebration, check out the update below.)
UPDATE: I did a little Googling, and it appears this may have been the Zaire rite of the Mass. It has much in common with the more familiar Roman rite, but with some significant cultural adaptations and changes — particularly in movement and dancing. It also uses an announcer — which can be male or female — and which appears to have been the role of the deacon at the start of the video above.
You can see another example of this, as celebrated at St. Peter’s by Pope Francis three years ago. Here’s the offertory procession.
In 1988, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments approved the “Roman Missal for the Dioceses of Zaire.” Today, it is the only inculturated rite approved for use by the Catholic Church. Although work on the Zaire rite is said to have begun in 1961, the project took root only after the Second Vatican Council.
In its document on the liturgy, “Sacrosanctum Concilium,”Vatican II gave the bishops and the people of then-Zaire—known today as the Democratic Republic of the Congo—the confidence and theological backing they needed to make the rite a reality. “One of the main contributions of Vatican II,” the pope said in his video message, “was precisely to propose norms for adaptation to the character and traditions of various peoples.”
In 1969, the bishops of Zaire established a research committee to piece together what a rite that was indigenous and faithful to the experience of the Zairean people might look like. The fruit of that research was presented to the Vatican office responsible for the liturgy and sacraments and in 1973; the Zaire rite was then cleared for experimental use. Fifteen years and two popes later, in April 1988, the rite was officially recognized and approved by John Paul II.
“The Congolese rite of the Eucharistic celebration,” said Pope Francis, “emphasizes the different languages, colors and body movements which interact, by leveraging all the dimensions of the personality of the faithful, always taking into account the specific values of each people.”