Missionaries of the 1500’s brought new considerations. For the first time in centuries, Christianity encountered new cultures that did not know Christ. Particular practices of the Franciscans, the Jesuits, and others in the evangelization apostolate brought popular pious practices to the effort:
36. From the end of the fifteenth to the beginning of the sixteenth century, the discovery of Africa, America and the Far East caused the question of the relationship between Liturgy and popular piety to be posed in new terms.
Inculturation was very minimal:
While the work of evangelizing and catechizing countries distant from the cultural and cultic centre of the Roman Rite was certainly accomplished through preaching the Word and celebrating the sacraments (cf. Mt 28, 19), it also came about through the pious exercises popularized by the missionaries.
Pious exercises became a means of transmitting the Gospel message and, following conversion, of preserving the Christian faith. By virtue of the norms designed to preserve the Roman Rite, there were few reciprocal influences between the Liturgy and the autochthonous cultures. In Paraguay, the Reductiones are a rare example of this. The encounter with these cultures, however, was easily facilitated in the field of popular piety.
I’m thinking also of Japan, where Christian inroads were made, but then many generations of believers persisted despite not having the celebration of the sacraments.
The full document, the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, is online at the Vatican site.