“African culture more receptive to gift of Eucharist”: Comboni Missionary in New Book

A poster announcing the August 31 Book Lauch. Credit: Paulines Publications Africa

An Italian-born member of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus (MCCJ) who has ministered in Kenya since 1989 has, in a new book, expressed appreciation for cultures in Africa, saying that they are “more receptive to the gift of the Eucharist”.

Speaking during the launch of his book published under the title, “The Gift of the Sunday Eucharist in the African Perspective”, Fr. Rinaldo Ronzani recognized the fact that the people of God in Africa value the celebration of Holy Eucharist.

“I think that Africa has something to offer to the whole Church. Just to give you an example, several of my friends who happened to visit me while I was in Kenya, were surprised about the way in which we celebrate the Mass in Africa,” Fr. Ronzani who ministered in Kenya’s Marsabit Diocese said during the August 31 book launch.

He added, “The singing, the dancing, the joy, the fact that nobody looks at the watch, and the fact that people come in their hundreds and you can feel the atmosphere of the presence of the Holy Spirit in the people who gathered together is different from the experience in Europe,” the Editor of Liturgical books with Paulines Publications Africa said.

“I think that the African perspective is in the fact that the African culture is more receptive, in to the gift of the Eucharist,” he further said, and continued, “I think that the universal Church is enriched when a variety of ways of celebrating the Eucharist is shared among ourselves for us to become more aware of that gift and to see how the cultural context helps us to offer to the whole church something beautiful that others can take.”


“I think everybody will benefit from reading this book, because this book somehow fills a gap that has been there,” the alumnus of St. Patrick’s Pontifical University, Maynooth in Ireland where he studied Liturgical Theology said during the August 31 event that was broadcast on Nairobi-based Capuchin Tv.

Fr. Ronzani further said, “This book helps the people to grasp something new about Holy Mass. It is a kind of spiritual book that people can read and reflect upon and they will see that their own prayer life and their celebration of the Eucharist will be enhanced.”

Making reference to Holy Mass in Congolese Rite that Pope Francis presided over at the Vatican early July, Fr. Ronzani said,  “It is a sign that there is something there. So, it's not just the Church in Rome giving something to others, but it is now the churches receiving a gift, and giving it back to the whole church in a renewed manner in order to enrich the whole community.”

Reflecting on the importance of the Sunday Mass, the editor of Liturgical books who has taught Liturgy and Sacramental Theology at Nairobi-based Tangaza University College (TUC), St. Thomas Aquinas Senior Seminary, the Jesuits’ Hekima College, and the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) said, “It is important for us to set aside some time for God, especially on Sunday, and then to allow the Sunday Mass to filter into our own daily life.”

The filtering can be achieved by “remembering a few words from the Gospel of the Sunday Mass and allowing those words to lead us along the week, or maybe singing the Gloria as we go to work, as we do other things, to feel that moment, that encounter with the Lord and that gift of the Holy Spirit, that transformation continues in our own life,” Fr. Ronzani said. 

More in Africa

The alumnus of the Missionary Institute London where he earned a Master’s degree in Religious Studies added, “The transformation that happens at Mass is not confined to that time when we are in church, but continues in our own daily life insofar as we open ourselves to the gift of grace and we allow the Holy Spirit to continue in us.”

“The Sunday Eucharist is that moment when we make that connection which continues through our own life,” the Comboni Missionary Priest who collaborates with members of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) and Paulines Publications Africa in editing liturgical books said, and cautioned against overlooking the daily celebration of Holy Eucharist.

Daily Holy Masses, he said, are like the “pillars that enable the bridge to stand and to be steady.”

“Our own Christian life is steady insofar the Sunday Mass continues during the week in different ways, in whatever way we can. It can be through a moment of adoration, a moment of prayer, going to the small Christian community, the rosary, adoration, or whatever,” Fr. Ronzani said.

He added, “It is important for us, all of us, according to our way of living, our circumstances, to see that from Sunday to Sunday we place some pillars so that the Lord will keep us up, will hold us up and will enable us really to communicate to others the richness that we receive in our own encounter with them.”


Also speaking during the August 31 book launch, Sr. Olga Massango said the new book “can really help the people of God to live the Sunday Eucharist.”

“The Sunday Eucharist is a gift; yes, God's gift. (God) is the one who takes initiatives in order to express His love to the human person. So, the best way to live the Sunday Eucharist is to respond to the love of the Lord, letting the love of the Lord transform us,” the member of the Daughters of St. Paul (FSP) said. 

She added, “This gift should help us really to be open to the Holy Spirit, to Jesus' word in our life.”

The guest speaker during the book launch, Fr. Petri Asenga who lectures at TUC described the new books as a “guide, manual and companion” that is enriching for Seminarians, members of the Clergy, women and men Religious, and the Laity.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.