Rite of Holy Mass in Kenyan Sign Language Translated, Ready for Use Countrywide

Fr. Jose Martinez celebrating Mass in the Kenyan sign language.
Credit: Public Domain.

The rite of the Holy Mass has been translated into a sign language that can be used across Kenya, an official involved in the translation has said.

“We have been able to standardize the system of the Rite of the Mass in Kenyan sign language that can be used across the country,” the Chaplain to the Deaf in Kenya’s Archdiocese of Nairobi, Fr. Jose Martinez has been quoted as saying

The initiative that has taken some six years of “serious work” will enable members of the Deaf Community in Kenya to participate in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist with ease.

“Six years ago, we started a more serious work of translating the Rite of the Mass that can be properly expressed in Kenya sign Language without losing the theological meaning of the concepts,” Fr. Jose Martinez said.

He added, “The Rite of the Mass is very technical as we hear it, there has never been a translation because we could not get the right and accurate terminologies expressing the rite of the Mass.”

As a way forward, the Chaplaincy of the Deaf Community in Kenya is offering training to liturgical interpreters and the deaf persons.

“We started offering training to liturgical interpreters and the deaf because the deaf need to get to know the meaning of the Mass and they have to know how to respond at Mass,” Fr. Jose Martinez explained.

He continued, “We offered training to those who were doing the service of interpretation so that they don’t interpret in their own understanding sometimes going astray in the theological meaning but rather follow the conventional way of signing the rite of the Mass.”

Available in a 50-minute-video and a booklet containing text and corresponding iconography, the Kenyan Sign Language Missal is expected to be officially launched December 5 during the celebration of the annual Mass for the deaf in Kenya’s Archdiocese of Nairobi.

ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.

Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa
[email protected]