Monday, September 14, 2009

St. Mary's, Norwalk Begins Use of Benedictine Arrangement

Thanks to a reader tip, I noticed that the parish of St. Mary's in Norwalk, CT has now instituted the "Benedictine arrangement".

The following is available off the parish website, dated for yesterday:

September 13 , 2009

In 2007 Pope Benedict XVI began a new arrangement of the candles and the cross on the altar that has come to be known as the “Benedictine arrangement”. It consists of six candles (a seventh is added for the Pope) [NLM: As well as for a bishop within his own diocese, but I think Fr. Markey is just intending to keep things simple, describing what is seen within the papal context] across the front of the altar with the crucifix in the middle facing the priest. Now wherever the Pope offers Mass around the world you can see this arrangement, and many parishes have been following his lead.

Why did the Pope make this change? The Pope is trying to remind the people not to focus on the priest, but on the sacrifice of the Mass which is being offered to the Father. Pope Benedict XVI writes: “Looking at the priest has no importance. What matters is looking together at the Lord. It is not now a question of dialogue, but of common worship, of setting off toward the One who is to come.” These symbols and gestures in the Holy Mass carry great meaning, communicating the Sacred in important ways.

Therefore this weekend you will notice a change in the arrangement of the candles on the free standing altar during in the ordinary form of the Mass. Also, please note that I have placed some pictures on the bulletin board showing the Pope with this arrangement. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me.

Sincerely in Christ,

Fr. Greg J. Markey

For those priests who have not yet done so, I hope you feel encouraged by the continuing actions and activities of so many priests, parishes and even bishops, who are pursuing the project and process of re-orienting our liturgies.

The use of the "Benedictine arrangement" is a good way to begin that process of re-orientation where ad orientem liturgicum (the shared, common direction of the priest and faithful "to the liturgical East") is not yet possible either in full or in part.

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