My friend Fr. Richard Heilman, who seems to have mastered perpetual motion, has a great letter to a priest posted at his place.
You will recall that I posted photos of Fr. H dragging the table altar out of church and over to the rectory so that all Masses would be ad orientem. He makes the Combat Rosaries (see the side bar of this blog). He made the confessional/chapel in the front entrance to the rectory and created the app to tell you when he was there. He started the Knights of Divine Mercy. Etc. Etc.
Go visit his site, HERE, spike his stats and dig around, but here in the letter with my patented emphases and comments:
This is a letter I just sent to a priest friend. I wrote it because I don’t believe we priests should be frightened anymore. [OORAH!] I agree with a recent post that said, while we take our time, souls are being lost. We all know, in our bones, that God wants this … let’s simply obey and allow God to bless our obedience!!!
I wanted to write to update you on the amazing things God is doing here …
A year is up and the results are in.
It’s been a little over one year since we removed the freestanding altar and committed to ad orientem worship for all of our Masses. Without a doubt, it was a leap of faith, as I simply trusted God would provide.
The initial response from some of the old guard was a bit nerve-racking. In fact, a handful of them decided to no longer attend here, as they dispersed to local parishes.
Beyond that, I don’t even know if I can begin to share all of the fruits of this move.
First, the spiritual benefits are palpable. Our parish has a sense that we are truly worshiping, and it simply feels so right. This is visibly seen in such things as the altar boys who are more reverent and precise. People are coming early to pray the rosary, and many are staying afterwards to offer prayers of thanksgiving. Everyone is offering the “proper” gestures (bowing, etc.) at the appropriate times. Virtually everyone began, mostly in just the past year, really dressing up for Mass. It seems every Sunday another woman has decided to veil – AT A NOVUS ORDO! And, we just had over 300 people go through the 33 Days of Preparation for Consecration to Jesus Through Mary!!!
Our choir has doubled in size over the past year, and they are chanting and singing polyphony so beautifully that I am thinking they should make a CD. Even our men’s schola went from 7 members to nearly 20 in just this past year. And, these men have become quite a “band of brothers” as they also gather once a month in my man cave for what we call, “Pipes and Pints” … Virtually all of them enjoy a nice pipe and brew as we discuss church related issues and try to solve all of the problems of the world. Virtually all of these men are young professionals. [I’ve been. It is a great time and the men in the group are fantastic.]
I haven’t looked at any statistics, but it seems that, over just this one year, the average age of our parishioners went from 65 to 35, as so many young families are discovering us and joining the parish. It is so wonderful to hear the squeaks and squawks of little ones throughout the Mass!!! My secretary commented that it seems a new young family appears here every week.
Last year, our finance council was recommending that we begin a special giving campaign, as we were feeling the effects of the economic downturn of the past five years. I asked them to give it one more year, as we see the effects of ad orientem worship. They reluctantly agreed. A year later, we just had a finance council meeting and – get this! – Contributions are up 45% IN ONE YEAR!!! [Father likes exclamation points!!!! To my mind, the more powerful point is the “45%”.]
I can’t say this is what will happen in every parish that decides to take the risk and move in this direction, but I wanted to be, at least, one more story of a parish that put their trust in God, and witnessed how God blessed this move to offer greater reverence in the Mass, especially by celebrating ad orientem.
Ad majorem Dei gloriam!!
Father told me yesterday that they should any day be installing the new Communion rail.
Also, he is learning the TLM and wanted to be ready to say one by Ash Wednesday.
This is the new Evangelization.