I am one of two Altar Boy Deans in charge of my parish’s 112 Altar boys.
Yesterday I was assisting our Altar boy director in training new recruits to the program (5th graders). He had asked me to show them where we keep our Altar cross and where to put it on the free-standing Altar for the Priests who like to use it.
They asked why it was used and I told them so that the Priest could focus on Christ during Mass, especially the consecration, and not distractions in the congregation; I also told them this is why there is always a Crucifix on high Altars (we still have ours – Altar of Repose, except for the annual Dominican Rite Mass in the summer).
Then I was asked why the Priest faces the Altar away from the people at the Latin Mass and I explained that the Priest is leading us in the prayer that is the Mass, and we are all facing Christ in the tabernacle together.
One boy then asks, “Well, why doesn’t the Priest always face the Altar at Mass!?” I could only smile and agree with him that this should happen.
Ex ore infantium!