Over at Standing On My Head Fr. Dwight Longenecker has something to say about saying Mass ad orientem.
Let’s have a look with my emphases.
Here’s a suggestion and question about the liturgy. I was celebrating Mass on Sunday away from St Mary’s and so I did not celebrate ad orientem.
I did, however, go around to the front of the altar, and facing the people, administered the Kiss of Peace. After sharing the Kiss of Peace with the altar servers, I turned East, (facing the altar) for the Agnus Dei, fraction, priest’s prayers before communion, and then turned with the chalice and host back to face the people for the "Behold the Lamb of God."
It seems to me that this is a dignified and sensible way that those who wish to move toward the East might do so in a simple way which begins to introduce people to this posture. It also has the advantage of setting off the Kiss of Peace. I came around the front of the altar marking this part of the liturgy as my address to the people, and by turning my back to them and going to the altar facing East for the Agnus Dei etc. there was a clear indication that the Kiss of Peace was over. (This is a good way to conclude a Kiss of Peace that has turned into a happy time to greet one’s friends)
That’s the suggestion. The question is, "Is there any reason why this should not be done more widely?"
My initial reaction is that this could be a good way to begin shifting people now unused to ad orientem worship back to the proper direction.
At the same time, there is something about using both sides of the altar that leaves me a little unsettled. There is nothing against it in the rubrics, obviously. I think this might be an initial impression that may not have a very good basis.