A priest celebrates ad orientem for the first time

Just came across this: wdtprs.com/blog/2010/11/a-priests-thoughts-about-celebrating-ad-orientem-for-the-first-time/

I, however, wish I had not said Mass facing away from the congregation, and not because of the anger directed at me. I am a Catholic priest. I am used to people being angry with me. I wish I had not said Mass in what I believe to be the posture assumed by the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council, because it was one of the most beautiful experiences of my priestly life. You cannot imagine what it was like to say words like “we” and “our Father” and “us” while standing at the head of a congregation that was turned together in a physical expression of unity. No matter how one might argue to the contrary, it is impossible to say “we” while looking at 500 people and not be speaking to them.

The Mass is a prayer addressed to the Father, and despite our best intentions, we clergy address it to the congregation at whom we are looking. You cannot help it. The human face is a powerful thing. Last Saturday night I realized for the first time that I was part of a family of faith directed toward the same heavenly Father. I felt as if I was part of a church at prayer. It was not my job. It was my church. I never realized how very lonely it is to say Mass facing the people. I am up there looking at you. I am not part of you. For 13 or 14 minutes. You weren’t looking at me. We were looking at God.

FYI, there was a thread here a couple weeks ago entitled [thread=511147]A reflection on Liturgy celebrated “ad orientem”[/thread] about this exact same article. :slight_smile:

Oops! I’ve been too busy to come to the forums for a while, so I missed it. Oh well, maybe someone will see it who missed the last one.

I would truly question this “Priests” motivations. If he is truly offering this sacrifice to God, then whether he faces the congregation or not means absolutely nothing. Ones orientation has absolutely nothing to do with the intention of the celebrant.

This man seems to have real problems dealing with the fact that he is offering the Mass on behalf of all of the people. That is a very bad attitude for any priest to have.

Wow, talk about reading one’s own negativity into someone else’s words and actions.

Despite what you want to read into it, the priest simply had his first opportunity to experience a time-honored liturgical custom of the Church, one replete with liturgical symbolism. He was edified by the chance. The “attitude” of which you speak is purely your own.

I see no reason for anyone to feel that way about this priest. I think placing focus on the task at hand, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, is an admirable attitude to take. He has seen that facing the people is a distraction for him.

Very uncharitable for you to put the word priest’s in quotations. :cool:

Yes, that sounds just about right. :slight_smile: Without going into details, I know several younger priests personally who have said the exact same thing. :thumbsup:

Why a poster in this forum would attack such a priest so negatively is beyond me. :shrug:

Even more uncharitable was the last sentence in that post. :frowning: It has to be one of the most unnecessary and uncalled for (not to mention nasty) remarks I’ve ever seen on this forum. :frowning:

We are made of spirit AND a body. We are not pure spiritual beings like angels. Our physical actions affect our internal and spiritual condition. So yes, one’s orientation does make a difference.

The priest is not an inanimate passageway through which Jesus becomes present for the laity- his vocation is for his *own *benefit as well as that of his congregation. The priesthood is a wonderful gift to the Church- but it is also deeply personal gift of love from God to each man He calls. If I were a priest celebrating Mass, I think I would find it more helpful to me spiritually to be looking at a crucifix, statues of saints, and a tabernacle during the consecration. If I were a priest, I would want with all my heart to bring people closer to God- to do that, I’d have to make sure that I myself am trying to get closer to God.

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