6. CATHOLIC IDENTITY AND WORSHIP ADAPTED TO LOCAL CULTURES
Instead, you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, with its thousands of angels. You have come to the joyful gathering of God’s first-born sons, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God who is the Judge of all mankind, and to the spirits of good people who have been made perfect. You have come to Jesus, who arranged the new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that promises much better things than does the blood of Able…Let us be thankful, then, because we receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Let us be grateful and worship God in a way that will please him, with reverence and awe; because our God is indeed a destroying fire.
( Hebrews 12,22 – 28).
There is a need for Catholics to develop in their Catholic identity with regard to the way they worship and express their faith. Catholics should learn to practice the great variety of faith expressions and worship which is part of the authentic tradition of the Catholic Church and which enriches the local cultures through proper liturgical adaptation. For example – praying the rosary in family and communities of faith, the proper use of holy pictures and sacramentals, charismatic healing prayer groups and spiritual retreats, Gospel -sharing groups, Eucharistic adoration, The Stations of the Cross, novenas, devotion to saints and the Liturgy of the Hours, spiritual reading and lectio divina with the Bible, Penitential Services with individual confession, Liturgy of the Word celebrations during meetings and special conferences. Catholic hymns need to be translated and sung regularly. In order to sing well in church, we need to have one or two people who take on the responsibility of leading the singing or choir in each parish. Liturgical catechesis should be part of the formation of the Catholics with the aim of making the Eucharist central to the life of the people. Training of altar servers, lectors, lay ministers of Holy Communion, sacristans, caring for the altar linen and vestments, need constant attention. Every parish should have a liturgical committee – ideally a priest, choir leader, lectors, altar servers leader, ministers of Holy Communion – which should meet regularly for preparing the Sunday liturgies according to the Ordo and liturgical seasons.
Here I exhort the whole Church in Africa to show particular care for the celebration of the Eucharist, memorial of the sacrifice of Christ Jesus,sign of unity and bond of charity,paschal banquet and pledge of eternal life.The Eucharist should be celebrated with dignity and beauty,in compliance with the established norms.Eucharistic adoration,individually and in community,will lead to a deeper appreciation of this great mystery.Along these lines,a continental Eucharistic Congress could be celebrated.This would bolster the effort of Christians to testify to the fundamental values of communion in every African society.To ensure respect for the Eucharistic mystery,the Synod fathers recalled that churches and chapels are sacred places,to be used solely for liturgical celebrations,avoiding to the extent possible that they become simply places for socializing or cultural places.
(Africae Munus, 153 -154)