Friday, January 02, 2009

Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Spring Bank Turns Ad Orientem

Br. Stephen of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Spring Bank in Sparta, Wisconsin, has some splendid news on his blog Sub tuum: Beginning yesterday, the Abbey has introduced the celebration ad orientem as the normative position for Mass at the monastery. Br. Stephen writes:

This morning the Conventual Mass for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God was celebrated ad orientem, which will now be the normative position for saying Mass at Our Lady of Spring Bank. (The Mass was solemn Latin in the ordinary form using the Cistercian Graduale.)

There are still many kinks and questions to address pertaining to the rank of feasts, the customs of the ordinary form v. Cistercian usage, the size of our community, and the layout of our oratory. The draft customary will certainly see much fleshing-out and many amendments over the coming months, but Fr. Prior thought that today was the appropriate day to begin to face God together, it being the first of the year and a solemnity of Mary.

I'm sure to have more to say later on this topic as we begin to sand off the rough edges, but I wanted to get the news up since I knew it would be of particular interest to some of you and, perhaps, to a somewhat broader audience, since I believe that this makes us the first house in our order to return to ad orientem celebration.

This is really wonderful news at the beginning of this new year and gives reason to hope that the restoration of the sacred and the new liturgical movement desired and fostered by the Holy Father - who himself will celebrate ad orientem in nine days - will continue to grow and spread. It is also significant that this happens in a religious house, as the monasteries have always been liturgical centres and models form which necessary restoration have spread.

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