New direction: What happens when a parish adopts the ad orientem posture?

New direction: What happens when a parish adopts the ad orientem posture? October 19, 2017

Readers may remember my account of serving my first Mass as a deacon ad orientem last spring. Now the National Catholic Register reports on what happened when a parish adopted this posture for a year:

Sudden changes in the life of a parish come rarely. But on the first weekend in October, at St. Wenceslaus in Wahoo, Nebraska, Father Joseph Faulkner announced an unexpected decision on the liturgy: The parish would celebrate Mass ad orientem — both the priest and the people facing the altar in the same direction — for a year.

St. Wenceslaus joins a slow stream of parishes that are experiencing liturgical renewal through returning to the ad orientem (facing the east) position in the celebration of the ordinary form of the Mass. While the movement has gained ground slowly, many priests credit last year’s remarks from Cardinal Robert Sarah with jump-starting further interest in it.

Related: Deacon, look East:  Serving my first Mass ad orientem

At the 2016 Sacra Liturgia conference in London, Cardinal Sarah, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, asked priests to facead orientem when saying Mass, as a means to ensure that “in our celebrations the Lord is truly at the center.” While the Vatican quickly issued a statement that “new liturgical directives are not expected,” and emphasized the unofficial nature of Cardinal Sarah’s remarks, many priests were inspired by his words.

Father Faulkner, the pastor of St. Wenceslaus, told the Register that his parish is the largest in the diocese so far — at 700 families — to implement ad orientem.

“There’s no place you can’t do it,” he said, if ad orientem can be introduced at a parish his size.

Read more. 


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