Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ad Orientem up North: "They now prefer it"

Good news from a priest-friend, Fr. Mitchell Beachey, on the issue of ad orientem. I have spoken of him and his liturgical endeavours here before on a few occasions. He has been busy working at restoring the liturgical orientation of his churches through, not only the Benedictine arrangement of the altar, but also through the use of ad orientem liturgicum -- amongst his other liturgical pursuits, including the usus antiquior.

Just this evening he gave me an update on one of his parishes where he began celebrating ad orientem at the beginning of Advent. His intention was to do this solely for Advent and Christmas and then return to the Benedictine arrangement, but what should transpire but this:

I have been celebrating ad orientem since Advent. I was going to stop after Christmas, but they now prefer it [ad orientem].

And so, this parish church will now just continue on, from henceforth, with the celebration of the Mass ad orientem. Needless to say, this is a marvellous and gratifying thing.

(Fr. Beachey celebrating the modern liturgy ad orientem liturgicum)

There is something very pertinent in this account.

Evidently there must always be some preparation and catechesis and there must also be prudence employed when dealing in these matters -- and indeed, situations can vary from place to place, and this must be earnestly taken into account -- but perhaps this report is a reminder of what these things, in combination with a little bit of pioneering spirit, can accomplish. It is perhaps also a reminder that the faithful themselves should not be underestimated in their ability to receive that catechesis and come to appreciate our venerable liturgical tradition.

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