Friday, March 19, 2010

St. Mary's, Salem, Restores Ad Orientem, Original High Altar for All Masses

After two and a half years of catechesis both from the pulpit and by way of bulletin inserts; by the use of the "Benedictine" altar arrangement, as well as the occasional celebration of Mass ad orientem for various feasts and times of the liturgical year, St. Mary's Church in Salem, South Dakota has now fully instituted and entirely restored ad orientem for all of their parish Masses.

As part of this, they have also restored the use of the original high altar, which is once again the primary and central altar of the church.

St. Mary's Sanctuary, Easter 2009

St. Mary's Sanctuary Today

(As an aside, it is very good to see the altar also fully vested with antependia.)

The altar and the direction of liturgical prayer ought to be a matter of particular consideration and attention given how profoundly it can influence our focus and emphasize our orientation within the sacred liturgy -- for clergy and faithful alike.

Fr. Martin Lawrence, the pastor of St. Mary's, is certainly to be congratulated for his vision in this regard, and for highlighting that, with a considered and strategic approach, this is most certainly achievable.

[If you are a priest and have done the same, or are taking tangible steps in this direction, we want to hear from you.]

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