Bp. Sample on “ad orientem” worship

His Excellency Most Rev. Alex Sample of Bishop of Marquette.  ‘Nough said.


WDTPRS kudos to Bp. Alex Sample.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Brick by Brick, Fr. Z KUDOS, Just Too Cool, Mail from priests, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Drill, The future and our choices and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. SonofMonica says:

    :-O ….. :-D

  2. CMRose says:

    Awww…I want to move back to Marquette now! This was my bishop before my family moved. He had just been elevated. I would much rather have Bishop Sample than my current bishop. He prays the TLM, mine just took the only priest willing and placed him 250 miles away! Yey Bishop Sample!!!!!! I’m saying an extra prayer for him in my evening prayers tonight.

  3. sanctus3 says:

    Bishop Sample was the pastor of Elizabeth Ann Seaton parish in Bark River, MI several years ago. My late brother and sister-in-law were blessed to be members of this parish. They had so many wonderful things to say about him.
    This video is an excellent resource for explaining ‘ad orientem’ worship. I would suggest that readers of this blog should send this video far and wide. You will be giving millions of Catholics the opportunity to understand that the focus should be on God, and not on other human beings.
    God Bless, Bishop Sample and all the work he does for the salvation of souls.

  4. vetusta ecclesia says:

    And he is wearing his pectoral cross correctly!

  5. puma19 says:

    Well thanks Fr Z. I have to say this is possibly the best explanation of the ‘direction’ of the TLM that I have ever heard and from a bishop. This is the type of preaching we need to hear and have not heard, delivered in a calm, well presented manner. It was very enlightening and helpful and ought be shown to far greater audience. This is what a bishop is meant to do.
    But I have one question, that may be hard to answer. When pontiffs celebrated Mass in St peter’s in Rome prior to 1965 (and we can see many examples of John XXIII, Paul VI on You Tube) at the central high altar under the baldacino, the Pontiff was always facing towards the people in the central area of the basilica. Thus, the pontiff was facing the people. How is this explained?
    Would be eager to hear an answer. But thanks again for Bishop Sample’s Mass.

  6. Father K says:

    The Popes celebrating at the High Altar of St Peter’s Basilica are doing precisely what the good bishop says – they are facing the East. Although it gives the impression that they are facing the people that is in fact, incidental. In ancient times during the Canon of the Mass the people gathered would turn towards the East so Pope and people were facing the same way. See Fr lang’s book, ‘Towards the Lord,’ for an excellent explanation of all this.

  7. pseudomodo says:

    The Popes celebrating at the High Altar of St Peter’s Basilica have not changed THIER position at the altar but rather it is the people who have changed thier position. Many of the old photos correctly show the western end of the Basilica with the stairs ascending up to the altar. These photos show that the people attending mass at the main altar were actually behind – that is the western end- of the altar and it is from there that they worshiped ad orientum with the Pope or the celebrant of the day.

  8. HighMass says:

    Kudo’s to His Excellency and Fr Z! :)

    After the Mass of Paul VI N.O. was implimented, it would have helped the rupture that occured if the form of worship would have been Ad Orientem :)

  9. Hidden One says:

    Absolutely fantastic.

  10. mrose says:

    Thanks be to God for Bishops such as this. Such clarity and directness. I long to hear more of this from our Shepherds.

  11. irishgirl says:

    I almost shouted out, ‘YES!’ as I listened to His Excellency’s words, but I’m in the library right now.
    This is possibly the best explanation I’ve heard (from a Bishop, no less!) of ‘Ad Orientum’ worship at Mass.
    Huzzah to Bishop Sample! He gets it!
    Sure wish my Bishop in Upstate NY would get it…

  12. Hidden One says:


    “Never compare one person with another: comparisons are odious.”
    St. Teresa of Avila

  13. Denita says:

    I really love this! Am putting it on my Youtube for later, too. I do have a question about facing East, though. Both my church and the Cathedral parish here in Fort Worth. are not “facing East. My church building sits with the altar on the south side, and this is a very old building. The Cathedrals altar sits in the ‘west” position, and it, too is an old building. Anyone have any answers? I hope you get my question.

  14. jhayes says:

    @Denita, in a traditional church plan, “East” is the direction in which the congregation looks to see the altar, regardless of what the compass says.

  15. Bob Glassmeyer says:

    Very well said, Bishop.

    This brings a sigh of relief I’ve been longing for for some time. Deo gratias! Bishop Sample’s message is concise, heartfelt, impassioned, and well-reasoned, a delightful blend of orthodoxy and compassion.

    If only this could be applied to the Ordinary Form! I hope Bishop Sample goes further with applying the concept of ad orientem worship to the Ordinary Form.

  16. Bishop Sample said that his comments may betray his own liturgical sentiments, but I beg to differ. It’s more accurate to say that his comments reflect the constant witness of the Church’s venerable liturgical tradition.

    The question I find myself asking is this: What more would ANY parish need than a homily like this, and perhaps a few bulletin inserts echoing much the same, before instituting the ad orientem posture for every Mass (the OF included) going forward? Sure, some people would still balk, but once catechized it becomes a matter of humility for these folks. Foot dragging on the part of the priest won’t help them one iota; in fact, it hurts all of us.

    I’ve spoken with a number of wonderful priests who personally “get it” but are afraid of offering the Mass ad orientem. I hope to live long enough to see this change.

  17. jhayes says:

    @Louis Verrecchio, Bishop Sample was speaking specifically of the EF mass. The note with that video clip says

    This homily excerpt focuses on the Extraordinary Form (Latin) of the Mass. Most Reverend Alexander Sample, bishop of the Diocese of Marquette, offered the homily on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2011, while celebrating the Extraordinary Form of the Mass at St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette, Mich. The Latin Mass is celebrated often at 4 pm (ET) on Sundays at St. Peter Cathedral. Visit http://www.stpetercathedral.org and check the bulletin to make sure of dates and times.

  18. I understand that, jhayes.

    The point is, everything Bishop Sample says WRT to ad orientem applies to the OF as well.

  19. Denita says:

    @jhayes Thanks!

Comments are closed.