It all started in Africa. Yes Africans (mainly in places in present day Algeria, Tunisia and parts of Egypt) introduced Latin language for the celebration of Holy Mass. This was due to the intellectual centres of learning in these places at the time which used Latin as the language for instructions. Latin was so famous in these places so much that it was almost the vernacular of the day. This also explains why most of the first Latin Fathers of the Church originated from Africa.
Before Africa introduced the Latin language for the celebration of Holy Mass it was previously celebrated in Greek. The “Kyrie Eleison” we say at Mass is Greek language. Today it remains the only trace of the Greek language background behind the Mass. After Africa introduced Latin language for the Mass, it gained popularity and was copied (borrowed) by Rome and later made the universal language for the Mass by the Pope around the 5th Century. Latin remained the language for the Mass for almost 1,500 years until the 20th Century when Vatican II allowed local languages (vernacular) to be used for the Mass.
So, whenever you hear Latin at Mass and you are an African know that it all started from Africa by Africans. Latin language used at Mass reminds us of the contribution of the Church in Africa to the development of the Holy Mass.
© Ask The Catholic Priest