Request for information about the use of “ad orientem” altars in parishes

I got an e-mail from a priest.  Maybe you readers can give some feed-back and information.  Here is what I received (edited):


I am going to be using the option ad orientem during the
upcoming Advent season and Lent. I have been using the bulletin to educate
the people on it. I have said it that way in the chapel for daily Mass for
the past 4 years for a small group of mostly elderly people. I really feel
like I am stepping out into deep water on this since I know of no other parish
where it is done with the Novus Ordo on Sundays in the main church.

My question
is: Do you know of any churches in the U.S. where this is done on Sundays at
all the Masses?

You readers might be of real help to Father.

Please stick to the topic.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Ken Buck says:

    The combined parish of St. Augustine and Holy Trinity (St. Augustine being the former indult parish in the Archdioces of St. Paul/Minneapolis) have begun celebrating ad orientem in all masses.

  2. Prime Minister says:

    St. Joseph Church in Toledo, Ohio, offers all Masses ad orientem.

  3. Connie says:

    St. John Cantius, Chicago, IL

  4. David says:

    Assumption Grotto (Detroit) – all Masses, ordinary or extrodinary form, English or Latin
    St. Joseph’s (Detroit), though I think the monthly Mass in German there is celebratedd versus populum.

  5. Mark Johnson says:

    At San Secondo d’Asti parish in Guasti, California (technically part of the city of Ontario, I think), the altar is fixed against the east wall of the church. Accordingly, all masses are said ad orientem, whether Novus Ordo or the TLM which is said once each Sunday.

  6. Fr. Wymer says:

    “Old” St. Mary’s Church offers the Holy Sacrifice ad orientum at all of its Masses. Interestingly enough, the only Mass celebrated in English is the anticipatory Mass on Saturday. The four Masses on Sunday are as follows:
    8: Latin
    10: Vietnamese
    12: German
    2: Latin

  7. Jeremy says:

    St. Peter’s in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia (they do not have any other option there…) It’s a small parish with historic roots!

  8. FC says:

    Sacred Heart. Dunn, NC

  9. Fr Wymer: I know of three parishes in the USA named “Old St Mary’s.” Which is yours?

  10. Adam says:

    And of course don’t forget St. Agnes Church in St. Paul, Minnesota. This is Fr. Z’s territory. They celebrate a Latin Novus Ordo, with some of the greatest music in all history. If I’m not mistaken, they don’t have a versus populum altar.

  11. Jonathan Bennett says:

    The Oratorians in Toronto celebrate their Masses Ad Orientem, as the do those as the Brompton Oratory in London (the most beautiful church in England apparently).

    I am confused how these churches get away with this. Would not the bishops have something to say?

  12. Athanasius says:

    There is a convent of Norbertine Sisters in Tehachapi, California who have Masses ad orientem in Latin (NO) every day.

    Also, the Mass is said sometimes ad orientem by the Norbertines brothers at St. Michael’s abbey, though it is not the norm there.

    I think Father is taking the correct route by educating people on it via the bulletin first. It created the wrong type of uproar unfortunately.

  13. thomas tucker says:

    Having just been to Mass this past Saturday vigil, in which the priest was the most melodramatic and theatrical performer that I have seen this side of Broadway, it struck how much the TLM saves us from the Tyrrany of the Priest’s Personality. This is partly due to the ad oreintem posture and partly due to the silent prayers. I wish for at least the ad orientem at the NOM so I will be less distracted by the priest’s theatrics, although I’ll still have to listen to his voice.

  14. Jonathan Bennett says:

    Such things as Latin and Ad orientem Altars and the “bells and smells” of a traditional Mass can be applied to any parish. It is probably best to introduce these things gradually over a period of time while keeping the parish informed, and educated, about these changes.

  15. AlexB says:

    Holy Family, Detroit

  16. Kim says:

    Jonathan Bennett: Last time I checked, the Toronto Oratorians celebrated the ordinary form versus populum, except for the Sunday Latin Mass and Festal Sung Masses. Has this changed? I have not visited Holy Family Church since they have introduced the extraordinary form.

  17. Andy K. says:

    Our Lady of the Atonement, San Antonio, TX

    Note that three of the four Masses are Anglican Use. The fourth is the ordinary form but in Latin.

  18. Jason says:

    Our Lady of the Atonement’s website.

  19. Dominic says:

    Not the US – but the Oratory at Birmingham as well as at London have all Masses ad orientem. It\’s a nice idea to have the change for the limited seasons of Advent and Lent. And maybe the parish would want to keep the practice going after that!

  20. Daniel says:

    They say the Novus Ordo ad orientem at Mother Angelica’s Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama.

  21. Richard says:

    Not in the Rockford, ILL, diocese.

  22. Saint Joseph Church in Waco, Texas. Father Timothy Vaverek says Mass the
    Novus Ordo ad orientem.

  23. Fr. John says:

    St. Mary in Camden TN has their Monday and Friday daily Mass ad orientem. I would actually prefer to to all of them ad orientem including the masses at my mission church as well, but this will take a bit of time.

  24. Scott Smith says:

    The Monastery of Discalced (Cloistered) Carmelites 600 South Flowers Ave. Dallas. There altar doesn’t allow for the other option.

    Though there are lots of altars that face both east and the people…

  25. I would like to borrow some of this priest’s catechetical bulletin pieces regarding the ad-Orientem posture. I am considering introducing this posture for all Masses as we begin the celebration of the extraordinary form on the First Sunday of Advent as well.

    I have been preparing my people in some ways, but I could use a bit more help.

    Any suggestions?

  26. Rudy B says:

    San Juan Bautista in El Paso (far west TX).

    I was told that a priest couldn’t celebrate ALL the Sunday Masses in his parish according to the extraordinary form, b/c of Art 5, §2 in Summorum Pontificum; am I missing something?


  27. Rudy B,

    I don’t think anyone is talking about celebrating all the Masses in a parish in the extraordinary form. The Ordinary form (before and now and always)may be celebrated ad-orientem just as the extraordinary form is nearly always celebrated.

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