12 July 2012

The Swahili Mass of Bishop Weston

The following is an old U.M.C.A. translation of the Canon of the Swahili Mass authorised by Bishop Weston and Synod in Zanzibar.  I have three slightly different translations of the same but regard the differences as not very significant.  The Swahili Mass was never put into English for celebration in English in Zanzibar, and the translation below had been given by the U.M.C.A. office simply to help non-native speakers understand the Swahili text better. 

There is much to be learned from the English translation and the Swahili original.  The translation of the Words of Consecration/Institution have a missionary perspective in mind which is to teach that the Lord  did die for the black man of Africa ... for every tribe, nation and tongue in Africa.  It represents a rather solid Anglican catechetical approach as opposed to the shakier ground of Bishop Colenso's co-Adamism in Southern Africa which teaching at its heart was likewise concerned to articulate a Christian vision of the dignity of every man including the black African.

Nota Bene: Any Anglican liturgical scholar worth his salt would know these in both tongues and appreciate what they have to say about the simultaneous existence in Anglicanism of two Eucharistic orders or structures, one of which is not unlike the Latin rite Ordinary Form of the Mass and the other which is nearly identical with the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.   It is along these lines that I would make the case for two forms for the Eucharistic rites arising from Anglicanorum coetibus: one like that of the Book of Divine Worship: Rite One and the other (Extraordinary) form being like unto that which one finds in the Anglican Missal, the English Missal, and the American Missal.

This particular text also reminds us that in the Anglo-Catholic effort to reconstruct the Canon of the Mass it was an unremarkable feature to place the Prayer for the Whole State of Christ's Church after the singing of the Sanctus and then follow it with those prayers generally thought to be consecratory of the Eucharistic Sacrifice.  What is printed below would be said entirely aloud (never in a silent whisper) by the Celebrant of the Mass.  


Almighty and Everlasting God, we beseech thee that thou accept these our offerings together with our prayers.  

     We beg thee that thou wouldest breathe upon thy Catholic Church the spirit of truth and concord. 

     Guard our Queen, N., grant to us that we may be ruled under her as thou wiliest   

     Heavenly Father, bless our Bishop N., bless all bishops and all who shepherd the souls of men that they may preach thy word by their teaching and by their pure way of life. 

     Give grace to all thy people that they may serve thee truly all their days,  Also, help those in trouble, sorrow, sickness, or any other need, especially N., and N. 

     We beg thee also to bless us who are here, making remembrance of the glorious death of thy Son, Christ our Lord. Amen.

     And we give thee great thanks because thou hast shown us the power of thy grace in all thy Saints; especially in the glorious Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord and our God; and in the Holy Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles and Martyrs. We beg thee, Lord, that we may follow them their faith and their obedience, through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

     Again Lord, we desire mercy for all thy servants who have departed from the world in the Faith: especially N., and N.  Do thou grant them, we beseech thee, thy mercy and everlasting peace, and do thou bring them, together with us, at the day of resurrection to the glory of thy Son.  

     Grant us these things, Father, for the sake of him, Jesus Christ our Mediator and Advocate. Amen.
[[The prayer above may be prayed in the form of the Litany.]]

O God, Father of Heaven, through thy goodness and mercy thou gavest us thine Only-Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, that he might die upon the Cross for our salvation; and he gave himself to be an offering which has no equal, to be a full sacrifice, a perfect oblation and a sufficient satisfaction for the sake of the sins of the whole world.  And he ordered a memorial of his precious death, and in his Holy Gospel he commanded us that we should keep on doing this for ever until he shall come again.

     Hear us, we beg thee, O Father of mercy, bless these thy creatures of bread and wine and cleanse them by thy Holy Spirit and by thy Word, that they may be to us the Precious Body of thy Son Jesus Christ and his Blood.

     He in the very night that he was given up took bread, and he raised his eyes to thee, God the Father Almighty, and gave thanks, and blessed it and brake it and gave to his disciples saying: Take, eat, THIS IS MY BODY WHICH WAS GIVEN FOR THE SAKE OF YOU.  Do this for my memorial.

     And in the same way, after eating, he took the Cup, and he gave thanks, and he blessed it, and gave to his disciples, saying, Drink ye all of this, for THIS IS MY BLOOD OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, WHICH IS SHED FOR THE SAKE OF YOU AND FOR ALL MEN THAT IT MAY BE THE REMISSION OF SINS.  Do this every time when you shall drink it for my memorial. Amen.

Therefore, O Lord, Father of Heaven, we thy servants are offering gifts to thee, who art by thyself Holy, thy gifts which thou gavest us, this pure offering holy offering, offering without spot, the Bread of eternal life, and the Chalice of everlasting salvation; making memorial of the Blessed Passion of him, Christ, thy Son our Lord, and his powerful Resurrection and glorious Ascension, and thanking thee for all the good which it [the Passion &c.] obtained for us.  Amen.

     We beg thee, Father, who art good, that thou accept this our sacrifice which gives thee praise and which thanks thee; grant us, together with thy Church also, forgiveness of our sins, and all the good that was obtained through the Passion of thy Beloved Son.

     And, O Lord, we are offering ourselves as a sacrifice to thee, ourselves, our souls and our bodies.  We beg thee that whoever shall receive these holy things may truly share the Precious Body of thy Son, Jesus Christ, and his Blood, and that he may be filled with hy grace and heavenly benediction and made One Body with him.

     And we who are not worthy beg, O Father, That thou command our offering to be carried by thy Holy Angel, together with our prayers, to the altar on high before thee, God, who art Holy ; through Christ our Lord, through the unity of the Holy Ghost, all honour and glory throughout all ages for ever and ever. Amen.

Let us pray: 

As our Saviour Christ commanded us and taught us, we are bold to say:

Our Father ... (said by whole congregation aloud)

The priest continues aloud:
     Deliver us, we beg thee, O Lord, from all evil.  Accept the prayers which Mary, Ever-Virgin, the Mother of God, prayeth for us, together with [the prayers which] thy blessed Apostles and all thy Saints [pray for us].  Give us peace in our days, help us by thy mercy that we may dwell far from sin in our days and that we may not be distressed by anything whatsoever.  Through him, our Lord Jesus Christ thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God for ever and ever. Amen.