Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Ad Orientem - How It’s Going

On Sunday of last week, I posted a request for people to report their experiences from those churches which have heeded Cardinal Sarah’s call to return ad orientem worship, beginning with this Advent. As you can read in the combox of that post, we had some positive reports, one person who registered his own personal, dead-set opposition to it, and no reports of any parish priests being lynched by their enraged congregations, or apocalyptic budget short-falls from soon-to-be-empty collection plates. (The latter was actually predicted by some of the more excitable opponents of the new translation, and didn’t happen either.) There were a few notes on our Facebook page as well, including this rather clever one: “For us, file this under, ‘Other people get nice things...’ ” We only received a few photos of newly-instituted ad orientem worship, which will be given below. However, we did receive a gigantic bumper-crop of submissions for our Immaculate Conception photopost, which will appear later today, and for the Gaudete Sunday and Rorate Mass photopost, which will be posted tomorrow. Both of these will show a great many churches where ad orientem has been the norm for the while, even for Mass in the OF, or has been instituted fairly recently.

I did receive the following message via e-mail. “When I asked the Liturgy Director if our parish was going to implement ad orientem worship, he implied that we needed USCCB approval to do so. When I suggested that this was not the case, he told me the parish was not going to do so and to drop it. When I realized that the other members of the parish catechetical advisory board on which I served did not know what ad orientem worship was or that it was possible (!), I sent them educational materials, and got kicked off the committee for my ‘divisive’ attitude.”

Self-reporting, informal surveys of this kind do not, of course, give more than the very broadest possible idea of what’s really happening in the world, but hopefully, it is a good sign that this was the only such negative report. For those who find this kind of thing discouraging (and reasonably so), remember the parable of the mustard seed, “the least indeed of all seeds; but when it is grown up, it is greater than all herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come, and dwell in the branches thereof.” Forty years ago, there was almost no debate among liturgists that having the priest look the people in the face while addressing God was one of the great conquests of the post-Conciliar reform; the very idea that any Cardinal, much less the head of the CDW, could propose to return to a proper orientation, would have seemed to most people utterly impossible. We are still only at the beginning of the beginning of the Reform of the Reform.

Here then are the photos, first the church of St Elizabeth-Ann Seton in Carnegie, Pennsylvania, in the diocese of Pittsburgh.

At the church of Our Lady of Good Health, also called Our Lady of Castello, in Zadar, Croatia, the Archbishop of Zadar, and President of the Croatian Episcopal Conference, H.E. Želimir Puljić, decreed that altar towards people to be moved, and himself celebrated the Mass of the feast day. 

Also from Croatia, ad orientem in the Cathedral of St Anastasia in Zadar:

and at the parish church of Ss Peter and Paul on the island of Iž.

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