Mass in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite… right.

From a reader:

This evening, I attended mass in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. The mass was at ___.

Several things were different than what one experiences at most masses in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. 1.) Mass was ad orientem. 2.) Father wore Roman vestments. 3.) Holy Communion by Host only. 4.) No EMHC in this parish, The celebrant was assisted by another priest.  5.) No altar girls. 6.) No sign of Peace among the congregation. Holy Communion kneeling at an altar rail ( a few exceptions), with father going from left to right several times . There were well over a 100 receiving Communion. 7.) Very little touchdown gestures when praying.

Even though they are the same mass and without  the above exceptions, the Ad Orientem presentation is in a different world than the Versus Populum presentation.

I would venture to say that those who only attend mass in their Novus Ordo Parish would not believe they were attending an Ordinary Form mass if the mass was said Ad Orientem. Even in the language that they normally hear it.

A few points.

When Mass according to the Novus Ordo is celebrated well and in a traditional Roman style, it can be less different from the older, traditional form than Masses according to the  Novus Ordo celebrated at parishes near each other.

Also, I would wager that the priest(s) at that parish at some point learned the older, tradition form of the Roman Rite.  In turn, that experience has produced a knock-on effect in their use of the Ordinary Form.  In turn, again, a knock-on effect will result in the congregation.  The way we pray has a reciprocal relationship with what we believe.

Distribution of Holy Communion at an altar rail is more efficient and more reverent.

Ad orientem worship must be revived.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    “Ad orientem worship must be revived.”

    Fr., can you address why on earth it’s not already revived? What prevents a priest from saying Mass Ad Orientem?

    If a priest can do this, and full well knows he can, why would he not? Is it a simple matter of a wimpy “don’t want to rock the boat in my parish” capitulation?

    How do priests, when surveying their parishes, their diocese, and the state of the Church in America, not conclude that something is dramatically off, and not be working towards some kind of dramatic change? I long to see Ad Orientem, a communion rail, Propers, etc., in my parish. Why is the sense of the sacred so rejected and kept at bay. I just do NOT understand.

  2. dbonneville says:

    On a related note, do you think that post VII church architecture was designed to prevent, as much as possible, the “old Mass” and it’s accoutrements from “coming back”? Even if that is the case, it just seems that to fix a UFO church-in-the-round set up to accommodate a communion rail and ad orientem would be the cost of a minor renovation.

  3. John Pepino says:

    Dear Father Zuhlsdorf,

    Can the Mass as described in your post be said to conform to the intentions of its drafters (the Consilium) and of its promulgator (Paul VI)?

    John Pepino

  4. John Pepino says: conform to the intentions of its drafters (the Consilium) and of its promulgator

    The intentions?

    Probably, yes.

    While I think the intentions of the Consilium were never entirely realized (they would have gone even farther with changes had they not had the little resistance there was), nevertheless they produced a book with rubrics.

    When you read and follow the rubrics of the Novus Ordo and look at them in light of Sacrosanctum Concilium, yes, I think so.

    There is no document that required that Mass be celebrated “facing the people” and the rubrics assume that Mass is being celebrated ad orientem.

    What the Consilium produced didn’t call for Communion standing and in the hand. The Church warns against clericalization of the laity or over use of ministers of Communion. Etc.

  5. Sword40 says:

    I have long since gieven up on the OF Mass. I, now, attend the EF exclusively. Perhaps in an emergency I would attend the OF, such as severe weather. I’ll drive as much as 150 miles each way for a traditional Mass. (thats 3 Rosaries each direction)

  6. Fr. Thomas Kocik says:

    A few weeks ago, I had a Saturday afternoon wedding and decided not to remove the kneelers that had been placed at the head of the center aisle for the nuptial Mass. Just before the Saturday evening Mass, I informed the congregation that I wanted to leave the kneelers there for the convenience of those who prefer to receive Holy Communion kneeling. To my delight, nearly half the communicants did so. The kneelers will stay put… until I can restore the rail.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  7. I couldn’t agree more. One of the ideas that allowed me to become Catholic at all was that the Novus Ordo was not a revolutionary form of Mass (as I had originally thought), but an evolutionary form. This is most apparent when it is devoutly and obediently celebrated, ad orientum. Our posture in prayer says everything about what we believe, and the idea of priest and people together facing God is unambiguously about the transcendent and eternal as opposed to the earthly and temporal. Catholics should prefer to stand with their forefathers in the Faith, than in opposition to them.

  8. Deirdre Mundy says:

    It also seems to me that the main complaint many older folk have about ad orientem, namely, that it made it too hard to here the priest, doesn’t apply in a world of wireless mikes and modern sound systems….

  9. jbas says:

    With my 12 yrs of experience as a priest, I’d say that (A.) there are usually parishioners so opposed to liturgical “turning towards the Lord” that they will threaten to withdraw their donations if it happens, which can make ad orientem “cost prohibitive”, and (B.) there are bishops who will not allow it (remember, canon law means only what the local bishops says it means).

  10. eremitaosppe says:

    Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, along with said Congregation are to put out a Manual to help priests celebrate the Holy Mass some time this summer/winter (for Sth Hemisphere readers). Now that was under Benedict XVI, so I am starting to think three things

    1) Will Rome help to enforce this? And will the bishops and priests as well?
    2) Will the Holy Father support this? (Francis that is)
    3) If Ad Orientem is encouraged by the Congregation or even requested as how to properly say the mass, how many Priests are going to ignore this document altogether???


    Fra Zachary

  11. ray from mn says:

    Could a priest get into trouble with his bishop by offering the OF Mass ad orientem? I would prefer that the Mass was offered that way.

    Does somebody have a list of parishes where that is the case now? I know of a parish in my diocese where that is the case on First Saturdays and maybe all Saturdays.

  12. friarpark says:

    If this Mass is in Wisconsin please please please email me the location.

  13. Geoffrey says:

    The only thing missing is some Latin, chant, and incense!

    I wish there were more Masses like this. I had the opportunity once to attend the OF Mass where the celebrant faced the altar for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. What a difference it makes!

  14. mamajen says:

    With the exception of ad orientem, this sounds exactly like the parish I grew up in. I miss it! They have a new priest now, but he does things exactly the same way, and he also introduced a TLM every Sunday. In fact, he was fighting for the TLM in our diocese well before Summorum Pontificum. Our diocese may be shuffling priests around again soon, and I have been selfishly praying that this wonderful priest be given one of the large churches in my city. I’d love for my boys to experience the same mass I did.

  15. Salvatore_Giuseppe says:

    If I could find an OF mass like that, my desire to attend the EF would probably be drastically reduced. At that point, I think the only advantages of the EF in my mind would be the prayers at the foot and the expanded (not contracted?) confiteor.

    People I talk to about attending the EF seem to never grasp that its not about going to a mass in Latin, its about going to a Mass that, partially by its nature, and partially because its put on for an especially demanding and vocal group, is celebrated in a much more reverent and prayerful way. And the OF could be that, if only all Catholics would become as demanding about sacred things.

  16. FXR2 says:

    I am right there with you, the new translation really cleaned up a lot of problems. When you get a minute compare and contrast the offertory of the EF to the OF. That in my mind is the real advantage to the EF mass. Assisting at a mass as described would certainly save me a lot of explaining to my children who usually attend the EF, but occasionally satisfy our obligation at the OF.


  17. Rachel K says:

    “With the exception of ad orientem, this sounds exactly like the parish I grew up in. ”
    You took the words out of my mouth! Though I have to say we knelt on the edge of the sanctuary as there was no room for altar rails in our small, modern church. Not sure about the Roman vestments either, I am not sure I would know the distinction between them, mea culpa, I am a post VatII Catholic!
    I am puzzled by why the Ad Orientem matters so much, our altar was facing the people, constructed of solid stone and marble and the Ordinary Form masses were so reverent with a good, to the point sermon every time and the features described above. Father favoured the third Eucharistic Prayer as a contraction of the Roman Canon ( called First Eucharistic Prayer at that time). He never used the other Eucharistic prayers.
    But doesn’t the reverence and silence matter more than direction? There seem to be arguments, good ones, in favour of both orientations.
    Other features that struck me at the time or later were the large crucifix visible over the altar, with a matching one facing the priest on the opposite wall, the clearly sited Holy Water stoups and supply of said water, traditional confessionals ( built in 1977, Father had the last word in the design of the church!) and statues and candle stands, Our Lady and S Joseph.
    All of this helped to form me in the truths of the faith, over a period of 13 years and then periodically on visiting home. But was it necessary to also have Mass Ad Orientem? Would it have been “better”?
    I don’t know the answers to this myself, just pondering aloud really.
    But I am very grateful for Father’s fine example, spare a prayer for his soul, RIP.

  18. Priam1184 says:

    The tabernacles in most of the churches I have attended in my diocese are not in a position to for the priest to properly say the Mass ad orientam, and I have little doubt that this was done on purpose and for that reason. Why else would a tabernacle be placed behind and to the right of about half of the congregation? That said, saying the Mass ad orientam I think would bring some order back to our severely disordered world with priest and the people facing our Creator and Redeemer in unity as the priest offers the Sacrifice. Church architects: put the the tabernacle in the right place and face the altar EAST!!!!!! “For as lightning cometh out of the east, and appeareth even into the west: so shall the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matt. 24:27)

    [Problem. The “orientation” of the altar does not depend on the presence of the tabernacle. It depends more on the position of the Crucifix.]

  19. Rachel K says: I am puzzled by why the Ad Orientem matters so much…But doesn’t the reverence and silence matter more than direction? There seem to be arguments, good ones, in favour of both orientations.

    Because when the priest faces liturgical east, he is facing God. The Mass is a sacrifice — the Sacrifice — offered to God, so it makes absolutely no sense for the priest to have his back to God while offering it. After all, if we address ourselves to another person, especially to someone important whom we are petitioning for some favor, it would be rude to turn our backs on that person; how much more so when that Person is God? And the ad orientem posture is also a reminder, both for us and for the priest himself, of the priest’s intercessory role, and the fact that he has been specially chosen and set apart for that work. I think the priest needs this reminder just as much as we do. Too many priests behave as though they were up there doing a night club act, instead of offering the August Sacrifice. Turning the priest toward the people, whom he is not supposed to be addressing except at specified moments, makes him and us forget where we are and what we are doing.

    Here is a terrific post from Reverend Know-It-All on the experience of offering Mass ad orientem.

    P.S. I am noticing more people at my parish are kneeling to receive Communion. I think more of us would do this if we had something to support ourselves on to get ourselves back up. Bring back the Communion rails!

  20. johnmann says:

    “6.) No sign of Peace among the congregation.”

    Doesn’t that violate the norms?

  21. jacobi says:

    Father, what the writer experienced was a Mass close to what was foreseen by Sacrosanctum Concilium and the 1969 Pauline Mass.
    None of the six factors mentioned (thankfully absent from this Mass), were even hinted at Sacrosanctum Concilium. They were introduced after Vatican II by Reformers, including bishops, who wanted to introduce Rupture in Catholic belief, and who used changed Lex Orandi to change the Lex Credendi.

    This attempt at liturgical and doctrinal rupture must now be reversed by promoting the Reform of the Reform of the New Mass, to bring it back to what Sacrosanctum Concilium intended.

    Any changes, as originally suggested in Sacrosanctum Concilium, were intended for particular circumstanes. They in no way replaced the tradional Tridentine or Gregorian Mass which of course continues as an equal form of the Roman Rite, fully expressing fifteen centuries of Catholic worship..

  22. Volanges says:

    johnmann, no. The rubrics say ‘if appropriate’ the congregation can be invited to exchange a sign of peace. It’s up to the priest to decide whether it’s appropriate or not.

  23. johnmann says:

    Volanges, can I get a direct quote where it says “if appropriate?”

  24. DetJohn says:

    I know a priest that says the Ordinary Form, on his day off, in Latin and Ad Orientem and without a sign of peace among those attending.

  25. Giuseppe says:

    I am surprised that in an OF mass
    1) There was no sign of peace – were the prayers at least said up to the line “let us offer each other a sign of peace”? How is this done? Then skip to the Fraction?
    82. There follows the Rite of Peace, by which the Church entreats peace and unity for herself and for the whole human family, and the faithful express to each other their ecclesial communion and mutual charity before communicating in the Sacrament. As for the actual sign of peace to be given, the manner is to be established by the Conferences of Bishops in accordance with the culture and customs of the peoples. However, it is appropriate that each person, in a sober manner, offer the sign of peace only to those who are nearest.

    2) Ad orientem worship in a church with a free-standing altar
    299. The altar should be built separate from the wall, in such a way that it is possible to walk around it easily and that Mass can be celebrated at it facing the people, which is desirable wherever possible. Moreover, the altar should occupy a place where it is truly the center toward which the attention of the whole congregation of the faithful naturally turns.[115] The altar should usually be fixed and dedicated.

    Granted, these are improvements to the OF – but are they allowed? Should an OF be OF, with the utmost reverence within the bounds of the OF? Or should the OF re-adopt elements of the earlier Mass?

  26. sirlouis says:

    128. Deinde, pro opportunitate, diaconus, vel sacerdos, subiungit:
    Offerte vobis pacem.
    Et omnes, iuxta locorum consuetudines, pacem, communionem et caritatem sibi invicem significant; sacerdos pacem dat diacono Myselvel ministro.

    The ICEL translates “pro opportunitate” by the words “if appropriate.” Myself, I would translate the phrase by “as may be useful.” Whichever, whether the exchange of a sign is invited is entirely within the discretion of he celebrant.

  27. sirlouis says:

    Sorry that got jumbled in the editing. The last part of the Latin is “dat diacono vel ministro.” “Ministro” means “altar server” and does not give license to the priest to plunge into the congregation to glad-hand people.

  28. anilwang says:

    Rachel K says: “I am puzzled by why the Ad Orientem matters so much”

    Pope Benedict XVI expressed it best. While there is value in directing the mass towards the East (rising sun) Ad Orientem, that is far less important that facing Christ (Ad Christum). When a priest faces the same direction as the congregation towards Christ (the altar, cross, and tabernacle), the worship is clearly oriented from start to finish towards Christ. When the priest turns to the people, the priest turns his back on Christ and looks to the people. The worship becomes closed in on itself, the focus is no longer on Christ, the priest becomes the center of worship, responsible for putting on a good show for the congregation and people have to move past columns in older churches so “people can see what’s going on”.

    Its no surprise that so much liturgical abuse happened after the de facto standard got reversed. Ironically ad populum worship a form of clericalism that you simply don’t find in a mass when the priests face is no longer the focus so to make him replaceable with other priests and God is all the counts.

  29. Will499 says:


    The Priest would say, “The Peace of the Lord be with you always” (Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum)
    The people would respond “And with your spirit”
    and then the priest would go right to the fraction while the “Agnus Dei” is being said/chanted.

  30. DetJohn says:

    It appears that ad orientum in the O.F. is becoming more common than I thought. Today’s (Sunday, June 09, 2013) edition of The Big Pulpit http://www.Big has a story from New Liturgical Movement entitled “Ad Orientem in the Ordinary Form” It shows Fr. David Hammond wearing Roman Style Vestments and saying the O.F. Ad Orientem at Sacred Heart Church, Diocese of Albany, NY.

    Readers comments from that story indicate that the O.F. Ad Orientem is the norm at
    San Secodo d’ Asti, Ontario, Ca. and St. Mary of Victories, St. Louis, Missouri.

    I’ll bet that there are many other places that have Ad Orientem O.F. Masses. Let us hope that it becomes more common. At least one of the Sunday Masses.

  31. robtbrown says:

    John Pepino says:

    Can the Mass as described in your post be said to conform to the intentions of its drafters (the Consilium) and of its promulgator (Paul VI)?

    Given the theological climate of the previous 30 years, if that best case scenario was all that they thought would happen, then they set records for naivete’.

    BTW, are you the John Pepino of Yorkshire Pudding fame?

  32. Vox Laudis says:

    @johnmann, sirlouis: in the 2011 GIRM English translation, #128 #154, to whit:
    154. Then the Priest, with hands extended, says aloud the prayer Domine
    Iesu Christe, qui dixisti
    (Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your Apostles) and
    when it is concluded, extending and then joining his hands, he announces
    the greeting of peace, facing the people and saying, The peace of the Lord be
    with you always
    . The people reply, And with your spirit. After this, if
    appropriate, the Priest adds, Let us offer each other the sign of peace.
    The Priest may give the Sign of Peace to the ministers but always
    remains within the sanctuary, so that the celebration is not disrupted. In
    the Dioceses of the United States of America, for a good reason, on special
    occasions (for example, in the case of a funeral, a wedding, or when civic
    leaders are present), the Priest may offer the Sign of Peace to a small
    number of the faithful near the sanctuary.
    (I particularly like ‘so that the celebration is not disrupted’.)

    Also, at #181, regarding the role of the deacon:
    After the Priest has said the prayer for the Rite of Peace and the
    greeting The peace of the Lord be with you always and the people have
    replied, And with your spirit, the Deacon, if appropriate, says the invitation
    to the Sign of Peace. With hands joined, he faces the people and says, Let us
    offer each other the sign of peace.
    Then he himself receives the Sign of Peace
    from the Priest and may offer it to those other ministers who are nearest to

    I am very fortunate to assist at both EF and OF at a small country church that was restored with reredos and integral altar, Communion rail, et cetera, where the Holy Sacrifice is always offered
    ad orientem. It makes a vast difference in both Forms!

  33. jbas says:

    “Are they allowed?” You must be new to this blog! This has been thoroughly covered here over the years. Please read Ratzinger’s/Benedict’s “Spirit of the Liturgy”.

  34. Fr Deacon Daniel says:

    Amazing how such simple things can lead to the glorious restoration of the Latin tradition of liturgy.

    Add a deacon, possibly a subdeacon, some simple chant and incense to the list above and you are well on your way to beauty making a comeback in most Roman parishes!

    Not to mention the Liturgy of the Hours…

  35. Sissy says:

    “I’ll bet that there are many other places that have Ad Orientem O.F. Masses. ”

    St. Benedict’s , Richmond, Virginia, the Lord be praised.

  36. Catholic Hokie says:

    In high school, that is the type of Mass that I went to at St Catherine of Siena in Great Falls, VA. It was the OF, in Latin, only altar boys, generally no extraordinary minster of communion (it would be, at most, one–and only for the Host). And along with the Latin, there was beautiful chanting accompanied by organ (not a piano or guitar or other such nonesense). It was a newer church, so the altar was pulled away from the tabernacle, but it didn’t detract from it. The only thing they didn’t use was an altar rail! While able to go to that Mass, I never really desired to go to the EF Mass, because I found the OF so beautiful and well done (“done as it’s supposed to”, as the pastor would say).

    Once I got out of high school and in college and beyond, I found myself really missing the OF Mass done like that (especially the ad orientem aspect), and so that has brought me more to the EF form. I think it would be interesting to see how many people that only go to the EF would be okay going to an OF celebrated as described above. It doesn’t have to be a bad experience!

    As a side note on ad orientem liturgies: All of the Anglican-Use Masses that I’ve been to have been set up that way, and they are also done very beautifully (and, as I recall, with an altar rail). Maybe as more and more people come back to the Church through the ordinariate, there will be a push for ad orientem and more reverent liturgies from that group too!

  37. Kathleen10 says:

    Of all the reasons “to do” or “to not do” anything, the worst sounding one is because the people will with-hold their financial support. If our faith practices, our practice of worship, is ruled and controlled in order to appease my fellow parishioners who happen to be wealthy, then, that would really be repugnant, in my humble opinion. If that is the case, I’ll go sit in a field like a New-Ager, trying to find Jesus in the trees and birds.
    So few leaders in the world. So many followers. I like money too, but it has entirely too much influence all around.
    There is no reason known to most of us that ad orientum should not be offered in most parishes, somewhere, at some time. It’s not offered in ours either. Very frustrating. Father would say, what are you doing to remedy that, I bet.

  38. Nan says:


    People don’t like change, or have consumed the participation koolaid. Our old PV has his own parish and wanted to make some changes to the Mass…going to EF instead of OF, right off the bat and his parish rebelled. He’d have done better to make small changes here and there, such as ad orientem, using altar rail (I think the church has one), rather than changing everything at once. Conversely, the next PV was uncomfortable as for some reason daily Mass was at a side chapel and he celebrated Mass “backwards” for the first time not because he wanted to. It also depends on what you’re used to as anything else may seem strange.

    @Giuseppe, not hard to skip the sign of peace; go straight from “and also with you” to “Lamb of God.” I’ve been to that Mass; on one hand, a priest who I think doesn’t like the sign of peace because it has most often been when I’ve found him at Mass that the sign of peace has been skipped for the congregation, on the other hand, a priest who was directed to make a daily mass 20 min due to the wedding following so the homily and sign of peace went. I see no problem with omitting the sign of peace. It’s disruptive.

  39. kolbe1019 says:

    PLEASE… Fr. Z,

    More posts like this. PLEASE…

    Our priests need more encouragement and more persuasion. Our Bishops too. Thank you for this post.

  40. mrsmontoya says:

    Our parish has an OF Mass in Latin with Gregorian chant and polyphony, and it is wonderful, even celebrated facing the congregation. Our kids chose it to be our regular weekly Mass.

  41. mbabc123 says:

    I wish the OF Mass I attend had all these ‘bells and smells.’ But even with them and more the OF still lacks the prayers at the foot of the altar, the Saints (aside from Mary) in the Confiteor and elsewhere, the ancient lectionary, the sacrificial offertory prayers, the mention of St. Michael, the Roman Canon without brackets and changes to the consecration prayer of the wine, and various other prayers, not to mention, in the OF, the lack of uniformity from parish to parish and the zillions of options not found in the Usus Antiquior.

  42. mbabc123 says: I wish the OF Mass I attend had all these ‘bells and smells.’ But even with them and more the OF still lacks the prayers at the foot of the altar, the Saints (aside from Mary) in the Confiteor and elsewhere, the ancient lectionary, the sacrificial offertory prayers, the mention of St. Michael, the Roman Canon without brackets and changes to the consecration prayer of the wine, and various other prayers, not to mention, in the OF, the lack of uniformity from parish to parish and the zillions of options not found in the Usus Antiquior.

    YES. It wasn’t until we got the new English translation, and I went out and bought a yearly Sunday missal, that I realized just how complicated the OF is. So many options! For missal jockeys like me, it’s a hopeless mess. There are at least three ways to do every part of the Mass. Why? What legitimate end is being served by this that wasn’t being served before? Is the liturgy still a given if so much of it is adaptable to the tastes of individual priests? Are we better off not being able to tell whether our priests are making the Mass up as they go?

    Instead of trying to make the OF more like the EF, my vote goes to just using the EF.

  43. Nothing is seriously wrong with the Novus Ordo that can’t be fixed at this point simply by allowing it to happen. The biggest problem was the horrid translation; that required intervention from higher authority and was a major project, but that is behind us. Now we need simply to stop discouraging change for the better. Ad orientem worship is one of those things that is not prohibited by the rubrics; bishops simply need make it known that pastors will not be exiled to a remote corner of the diocese (or worse) for implementing it, and that they will be backed by the bishop. Just do it. The same goes for Gregorian chant, which is endorsed by the Vatican II document Sacrosanctum Concilium. Just do it! I still hope that some day there will be no need for the extraordinary form because the Novus Ordo has evolved into something just as good if not better. And if the Novus Ordo does not change for the better, it’s hopeless. Just as the Democratic Party has to be fixed (not just shunned) if our country is to have any hope, so must the Novus Ordo be fixed (not just shunned) if our Church and world are to be fixed.

  44. Giuseppe says:

    @jbas – thanks for the tip. I’ve never seen an ad orientem NO mass before (at the main altar) – I have seen a few at side altars, but only for the consecration. All of the rest was versus populum in front of the altar.

    Don’t get me wrong – I hate shaking hands, and I like ad orientem worship. But in the ‘do the red’ mindset, I was worried that some pastors might be imposing their well-intentioned and well-reasoned views onto the liturgy and innovating (yes, restoring) things which are not part of the NO. As long it is clearly written from the Vatican and the respective national bishops organizations that (1) that the Sign of Peace is optional (or preferably skipped) and (2) that versus populum altars are no longer the rule, then I am fine with these changes. As much as there are things I don’t like in the NO, I do want it standardized, and I assumed that it was an exclusively versus populum Mass unless on a side altar. Again, I stand corrected.

  45. Gratias says:

    Kneeling for communion is out of the question in Los Angeles OF parishes. We have to drive 55 miles to get to the EF once a month. Otherwise it is Taste and See for us. There are 4,000,000 baptized Catholics in our Archdiocese. With admiration to Sword40 above who drives much further.

  46. Jerry says:

    re: Gratias (“Kneeling for communion is out of the question in Los Angeles OF parishes”)

    Why is that?

  47. JonPatrick says:

    Ad Orientem, kneeling for communion, and receiving on the tongue have been mentioned and I agree these changes would go a long way to making the OF more reverent. However a big deficiency in the Mass of Paul VI is the de-emphasis of sacrificial language. This is mitigated somewhat when Eucharistic Prayer I (the Roman Canon) is used; however this seems to be fairly infrequent. I know of only 1 church that I have attended several times where this is the norm at Sunday Mass. Even with EP1, the changes to the offertory prayers from what was in the 1962 Mass have removed much of the sacrificial language that used to be an important part of those prayers.

    Where I live (Central Mass) I have never seen Ad Orientem used outside of an EF Mass. There is also an issue that many sanctuaries here were “wreckovated”, and no longer have an altar suitable for Ad Orientem. The parish church where I live somehow escaped the vandals and has a beautiful stone altar built in to the back of the sanctuary; however a large wooden lectern has been erected directly in front of it thereby making it unusable. Either something like this, or the old altar being ripped out completely is the case in many parishes here.

  48. Felicia says:

    Fr. Z says: “Distribution of Holy Communion at an altar rail is more efficient and more reverent.”

    Indeed it is, much more efficient! My parish normally has communion kneeling at the altar rail (hurray!) but inexplicably reverts to the standing-in-line-style distribution on major feast days when there are very large numbers of communicants. Hence, I’ve had the opportunity to do an informal “time and motion study” from my pew. In fact, kneeling-at-the-altar-rail distribution is about TWICE THE SPEED of standing-in-line distribution.

  49. tcreek says:

    Guardian Angels Parish in Louisville Ky has Mass ad orientem in the Ordinary Form at 10:00 each Sunday. Most people receive communion at the altar rail, kneeling and on the tongue. Rather attend the Extraordinary Form, that is at 8:00 each Sunday.
    Guardian Angels is three times the distance than my regular parish but I attend there quite often. The spiritual difference is significant and my regular parish is “as good as it gets” in the proper offering of the Norvus Ordo Mass.

  50. Gail F says:

    I went to a different parish than my usual yesterday. The priest was elderly and frail, and could hardly walk. When it came time for the sign of peace, he did say it — but he also did not leave the altar, as my pastor does, to walk around and shake hands with everyone in the front rows. Yes, I know he is not supposed to do this. Anyway, because of that the sign of peace was very different from what I usually experience in my parish and others — very quick, just a handshake with the immediate people around you, and on to the rest of Mass.

    I like the sign of peace. But it’s not meant to be meet and greet time, or to be a time to compliment people on their outfits, or time to leave your pew. I have seen all that.

  51. dominic1955 says:

    A few points. Kudos to anyone who tries to celebrate the NO according to the norms and customs of how the Roman Rite was traditionally celebrated. Regardless of the rite or usage, certain aspects of liturgical practice are applicable to them all. Ad Orientem worship had been practically universal in the whole of the Catholic Church-east and west. It would be profoundly silly and contrary to the true nature of law and obedience to suggest that this practice could somehow be obliterated by law. We have some profoundly wrong headed and destructive liturgical law/rules, especially how they are currently read by many.

    Secondly, I think it is a wholly positive development to reintroduce ad orientem into the NO, the rite itself is deficient in numerous ways. It is great to make it as “reverent” and traditional as possible but we really need to just work to reintroduce our liturgical patrimony and ditch the Neo-Roman Rite as soon as is reasonably possible. This might be a century or two, but it really needs to go. There were so many things irresponsibly lost in the “reform” that Catholicism as traditionally practiced in the West is only preserved and lived by the little oasises of traditional liturgy. I really mourn the loss (in most of the Latin Rite) of things like Rogation Days, Ember Days, Septuagesima and Ascensiontide, the Octave of Pentecost (primarily, but others as well) as well as Time After Pentecost/Epiphany rather than “Ordinary Time”. We also have the problem of the destruction of the traditional reading cycle and prayers that had gone along with the traditional liturgical cycle reaching back for century upon century that was stupidly replaced by the Scripture-Glutton three year cycle, Jansenist/Protestant “promised of ages”.

    For a primer of the real problems with the NO, read “Work of Human Hands” by Fr. Cekada and “The Bugnini Liturgy” by Laszlo Dobsay. While nice, no amount of Latin and Lace, Smells and Bells is going to fix what is really wrong with the NO.

  52. acardnal says:

    Fr. Z has addressed the issue of a “free standing altar” and “the altar being built separate from the wall” many times on his blog. Do a search and you can read his posts on this subject.

    Regarding “let us offer each other a sign of peace”: This is an optional rubric for the priest in the NO.

  53. beez says:

    As a priest who just yesterday celebrated his first anniversary (Woo Hoo!), I have had the pleasure of celebrating the OF ad orientam about a half a dozen times, always on my day off. There is a school about 40 minutes from my parish where they have daily Mass this way. When I was first invited, they didn’t mention ad orientam on the phone. It was a brother priest who said, “You do know they only do ad orientam there, right?” I was terrified.

    I reviewed the Missal and realized that everything I needed to know about it was right there. “Then, facing the people, he says.” If the Missal doesn’t tell me to face the people, I face liturgical East.

    By the end of the Mass, I who had been nervous, found myself wishing that I was always able to do this. There was no worrying about where I was looking, or who was looking at me. I wasn’t distracted by anything, and I was able to pray the Mass in a very deep and involved manner. I am always excited when the secretary from the school calls because I know I am about to get another invite!

    Unbeknownst to them, I have been using my other “free mass days” to celebrate the OF in Latin. My fluidity and pronunciation is getting quite good (and this is from only once a week in a guy who has very little facility with language). This school actually likes the OF in Latin, so I am hoping to start introducing some of it in the fall, should they invite me back.

    My problem with the common manner of celebrating the OF, (which I have come to understand has little to do with the rubrics as they are written) is that any priest risks thinking that he is the “star” of the Mass and that he is expected to engage people’s interest, rather than lead them into prayer, if he sees a lot of fidgeting or yawning during Mass. Celebrating ad orientam reduces the danger of it becoming “Mass! Staring Fr. Bob!”

  54. Priam1184 says:

    Thank you Father. I had always thought that ad orientem was to face the tabernacle. Thank you for clearing that up for me.

  55. Rachel K says:

    Hello Miss Anita Moore, I am pondering your statement,
    “Because when the priest faces liturgical east, he is facing God”
    But God is omnipresent so he doesn’t really have a ‘direction’. I thought the Eastern bit was towards the sunrise, representing Him being the light of the world etc. And is there a difference between ‘liturgical east’ and geographical East?

    “When a priest faces the same direction as the congregation towards Christ (the altar, cross, and tabernacle), the worship is clearly oriented from start to finish towards Christ”
    But Fr Z has clarified ;
    [Problem. The “orientation” of the altar does not depend on the presence of the tabernacle. It depends more on the position of the Crucifix.]
    So our parish priest had understood the meaning of Orientation with his second crucifix opposite the altar, which he could see at all times. A jolly good one it was too, very large with a tasteful and realistic corpus. In fact, I think the two were identical, but I was usually looking at the one over the altar.
    So I am not sure I am much clearer yet despite some very good discussion and interesting points being raised. Does Orientem mean “towards the Orient” ie, East, or towards the crucifix? Or will it depend from church to church?
    On the subject of the sign of peace, our priest was more or less allergic to it! he even forbad visiting priests to use it, although one ignored his direction. I think he felt, we would agree, it was a bit of a tasteless scrum which distracted so much from the most solemn part of the Mass. e simply passed straight on to the Agnus, as Opus Dei priests do too.
    In the Anglican liturgy it comes after the penitential part before the readings, a much better place for it. This placing is discussed in Pope Emeritus’ Benedict’s book God is Near Us, or it may be in spirit of the Liturgy, but he makes a good case for moving it away from the Eucharistic part of the Mass.
    Thankyou all for the interesting comments!

  56. Nan says:

    Congratulations, Beez! Thank you for your service. Thank you for saying Mass at the school on your day off.

  57. Granny says:

    Cardinal Arinze…
    Cardinal Arinze says he’ll buy you a turkey if you can find one document from the Vatican that says Altar rails or Communion rails were to be removed. He does say, unenthusiastically, that new churchs should have the altar so that Mass facing the people is POSSIBLE. He also says that EMHC should be reserved for Mass where there are more than a 1000 people. If you search EWTN for Cardianl Arinze you can read for yourself.

    If you are in the Toledo Ohio area, RUN don’t walk to St. Joseph Parish at the corner of Erie and Locust Street. NO Saturday at 4, EF Sunday at 11. Both facing east, Communion at the Altar rail on the tongue. You’d be surprised how much less distracting it is and how much easier it is to concentrate and pray when the everyone faces Calvary together.

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