Exploring the benefits of Liturgical Inculturation in the Catholic Church: A case of Mazabuka District Parishes

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Simukonda, Darius Joseph
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The purpose of this study was to explore the benefits of liturgical inculturation in the Catholic Church in Mazabuka District. The reason for this study was that regardless of the efforts that have been made in recent years by African theologians and Religious Studies Scholars in Zambia to explain to the local people the significance of liturgical inculturation in the Zambian Church, some Christians both Catholics and non-Catholics still do not appreciate their own heritage and thus view liturgical inculturation as ungodly and demonic. To supplement efforts made by African theologians and Religious Studies Scholars on the subject of inculturation, this study was designed to shed some light on the benefits of liturgical inculturation. The objectives of this study were three; To find out the views of Church members and the clergy on inculturation; To investigate the areas of the liturgy that have been inculturated in Mazabuka District Parishes and lastly to explore the benefits of liturgical inculturation in Mazabuka District Parishes. To fully understand the subject of inculturation, this study reviewed literature from across the global. This study used qualitative methods for data collection and analysis. The data was collected through one on one interviews, focus group discussion and observations. The study involved three selected Parishes one in town, another one in peri-urban and the other one in the rural area of Mazabuka District. Out of the three Parishes which were selected for interviews, 38 respondents were sampled through purposive and simple random sampling. The major findings of this study are that; liturgical inculturation is vital because it enables the local people to be part of the liturgy and when people are part of the liturgy, they can own the celebration. The areas that have been inculturated in the liturgy in Mazabuka Parishes are Entry Procession; Music and Dance; Penitential and Thanksgiving prayers; Bible Procession; Language; Gesture and Symbols; Veneration of ancestors; Baptism; Good Friday and Harvest. Lastly the findings have revealed that liturgical inculturation is beneficial to the local people because it has closed up the gap between faith and culture. People can now celebrate the Mass using African values that enhance worship unlike the way it used to be in the past where people worshiped God in a language they did not understand. The implications of the findings are that the local people enjoy worshipping God using symbols and gestures that are known to them unlike using foreign symbols. In conclusion, this study has revealed that liturgical inculturation has benefited the local people in Mazabuka Parishes because worshippers are now participants in worship because the Gospel message has been brought home. The study recommended that in order to make liturgical celebrations more meaningful, there is need for the Catholic Church to consider inculturating all the prayers so that the local people can formulate their own prayers derived from their rich culture. Secondly the study has recommended that Mazabuka parishes should document how they have inculturated the liturgy in order to help other Diocese in Zambia and beyond who are still hesitant about liturgical inculturation to begin to appreciate the need to blend the liturgy with culture for meaningful worship and lastly the study has recommended that further research should be carried out on the gifts of the Eucharist in Mazabuka Parishes so as to appreciate how the gifts can be inculturated in order for the Eucharist to carry more meaning.
Catholic Church-Zambia-Liturgy , Pastchal Mystry , Christianity and Culture-Zambia