My friend Fr. Richard Heilman, pastor of St. Mary’s in Pine Bluff, WI, in the Diocese of Madison – where there reigneth Bp. Morlino – has made the move to the East.
After a process of catechesis, St. Mary’s has gone ad orientem versus. All Holy Masses will now be celebrated with priest and congregation facing liturgical East.
Here is a happy photo of the table altar being taken out of the church, which I hope to see in many variations in the future.
“But Father! But Father!”, some of you might be saying, “Where are they taking it? That priest must hate Vatican II as much as you! Now people won’t be able to participate!”
They are taking the altar over to the rectory, where Father will create a nice private chapel.
The New Evangelization continues at St. Mary’s in Pine Bluff.
To put table in front of that splendid altar was just plain silly.
Now they need an altar rail.
Bp. Morlino has spoken clearly about the importance of ad orientem worship. HERE.
I’m sure that the day will come when we will turn toward the Lord together, in even a more full way when we all face east, when we all turn toward the Lord in the same direction. And when we do that, that’s not the priest turning his back on the people, it’s the priest directing the people to look toward the east, to obey the prophetic word, to believe how concrete, real, physical and visible Jesus Christ was and is. How concrete, real, physical and visible is the last coming, from the east.
The east matters. It matters a lot. That’s why the creator gave us the sunrise from the east to remind us that from there, comes the light, who is Christ.
As we behold the flesh and blood of Christ, in the sacramental sign of the Eucharist, we are turned toward the east, as Jesus comes to use here in mystery, to remind ourselves that our whole life is an eager, prayerful waiting for him to come in majesty, waiting for him to come from the east, turning toward the Lord.
The Diocese of Madison has 35 seminarians.