BRICK BY BRICK! Parishes are “Turning Towards The Lord”, going “ad orientem”


During a conference in London last summer, Robert Card. Sarah famously made a prayerful and earnest personal suggestion that priests begin to say Holy Mass ad orientem beginning with Advent.  Advent begins on Sunday.

Of course the Cardinal was speaking as an individual churchman, rather than in his capacity as Prefect of the CDW.  He also included the usual clear statements about prudence and catechesis and circumstances, etc.

The Left quite simply had a calf!

That said, priests are paying attention to men like Card. Sarah, whose mind and heart are revealed in books such as his amazing God Or Nothing, which every priest and bishop should read.  Give your priests this book for Christmas! UK HERE USA HERE

Contrast the attitude of Card. Sarah, as communicated in his book, with the attitude of those who attack him.

I am getting notes that priests, indeed, “turning towards the Lord”.

For example, I had a note from a reader:

Our local parish (St. Mary) here in Anacortes, WA is continuing to bring the sense of the sacred back into the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

This past weekend our Priest included the following bulletin insert announcing ad orientem for weekday Masses this Advent! As you can see, he’s built on a solid groundwork of catechesis (including some of his predecessors here at the parish).

Exciting, courageous, and beautiful – I’m looking forward to it!

Attached was this image (sorry, not a text):


Only weekday Masses.. but…

Brick by brick!

Also, I note that a priest friend of mine with three parishes, who took one of the parishes ad orientem a few years ago with great success, is now going ad orientem with his other two parishes.

Brick by brick!


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ACTION ITEM!, Brick by Brick, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Bthompson says:

    We’ve got a few priests out here in Seattle who have made the shift, or have done so partially. I wish I could–some of the most prayerful Masses I have ever said we’re at the pro-cathedral of st. James in Vancouver–but there are a few practical issues in my way (primarily not being the pastor).

    For the guys who have taken the leap, it has consistently worked out well for the people, parish, and pastors. They have, of course, been a few dissenters and moving to neighboring parishes, but overall it has really benefited the majority of the people, who remained. There seems to be more hostility to the idea from other priests than from the people.

    I do like how Father is easing the people into the idea. Hopefully that will give time for conversion and education who are the people who might otherwise storm out if the change was made too suddenly.

  2. Sword40 says:

    I know the priest in Anacortes, WA. He also, knows the EF quite well (excellent Latin). Encourage him to keep up the good work. You may volunteer to help him train a few Altar boys for a low Mass.

    God Bless

  3. Ivan says:

    In Croatia, the ice had been broken in Zadar, a few days before the first Sunday of Advent and the Feast of Our Lady of Health in Zadar eponymous shrine where the archbishop of Zadar, Msgr. Zelimir Puljic president of the Croatian Conference of Bishops, celebrated the Mass at the main altar of Our Lady of Health in the manner as described by Cardinal Sarah.

  4. AnnTherese says:

    Which makes sense? I guess it depends on where you believe Jesus dwells. [You’ve missed the point already.] On a crucifix? No. In the tabernacle? Yes. In a person? Yes. They both make sense to me. But, I’m not comfortable limiting who and where God is and how God works. The mystery of God is so much greater than our minds can fathom.

    Though God might appreciate our efforts to understand.

    Blessings to all here and upon your Advent journeys!

  5. Notice that the pastor of St. Mary’s had to hire a new pastoral associate for liturgy to get this done, and even at that, he is excluding Sundays; at weekday Mass, the priest can more or less run the show on his own. In most cases, the existing lay people who control the liturgy might not tolerate ad orientem, and if such people were to be replaced by others more amenable to the pastor’s wishes, the deposed would appear with sad faces on the front page of the local secular newspaper holding their tambourines and the pastor would be accused of being a meanie and the bishop would be accused of being a meanie for not sending that pastor to whatever the Siberia of that diocese is.

    In any case, I am always happy to see things moving, even if ever so slowly, in the right direction.

  6. Kathleen10 says:

    This is a very big deal, and I admit I envy those who live in an area where this could happen. Maybe someday.

  7. Warren says:

    Ad orientem in Anacortes, eh? A great reason to take a ferry trip there from nearby Sidney on Vancouver Island! Sadly, Saint Elizabeth’s in Sidney is a liturgical wasteland.

    There is a beautiful Ordinariate (ad orientem) Mass at Our Lady of Fatima in Victoria.

    So glad to hear about nearby St. Mary’s in Anacortes, and elsewhere! Kudos to priests and people!

  8. RichR says:

    Our priest took an intermediate step and put the presidential chair off to the side facing the altar instead of right behind the altar. Maybe he’s clearing the way for A.O.

    On a side note, I’ll bet the Jews worshipped God Ad Orientem back when they had a Temple in the desert and in Jerusalem. The “glory cloud” would descend on the Holy Of Holies while the high priest entered. Our churches are traditionally modeled after the Jewish Temple, and Our Lord DOES come to the church. Why shouldn’t we acknowledge the Lord in the same way with AO?

  9. frjim4321 says:

    I don’t think it’s gonna happen here with the bishops taking a dim view.

    Just my two cents, but already have enough division.

  10. Austin says:

    Cardinal Cupich has made it pretty clear how things are going to go down in Chicago. Even the mildly traditionalist priests are going revisionist and mod. Cupich made a point of celebrating ad populum even at an ordination at St John Cantius, where all masses have been orientem for years. That was widely noted. When more than a quarter of the parishes are slated for closing, few clergy are eager to annoy their ordinary, who has a reputation for vindictiveness.

  11. SundaySilence says:

    Austin, have you been able to find a copy on-line of the Cardinal’s letter that was read at all the Masses on Christ the King Sunday? I’ve been looking but no luck so far.

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  13. Austin says:

    No, I have not. In the parish I attended, the letter was not read, only paraphrased. That was alarming enough.

  14. SundaySilence says:

    Our priest read it verbatim. I am scared.

    St. John Vianney, please help us petition God for faith-filled priests (past, present and future) who will protect and nourish His flock. We need Mass to be centered on God, not on us. We need to recognize the truth of the Eucharist. We need instruction that is theologically correct and not just “feel good” generalities. Ultimately, we need to get to Heaven, and we need pastors who can lead us there. Please help us!

  15. Lynn Diane says:

    Two parishes in the Oakland Diocese in California now have Masses that are celebrated ad orientem. At St. Joseph the Worker in Berkeley, the English Masses are celebrated ad orientem. Beginning today at St. Margaret Mary in Oakland all Novus Ordo Masses (Latin and English) will be celebrated ad orientem. Most parishioners seem very happy about it. It’s a bit hard for the deaf or partly deaf who have been relying on lip reading, however.

  16. Austin says:

    I fear Chicago will be one of the worst places in the US to be a traditional Catholic over the next few years. Cupich is obviously the point man for the modernist insurgency, and so will be eager to prove himself. And Cardinal George fostered a number of traditional parishes and movements, to the great annoyance of the liberals. These are likely to be in the crosshairs as the whole Archdiocese contracts. There are rumblings from the seminary that the mostly traditional seminarians are being persuaded to become less “rigid”.

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