Ad Orientem

How does this work in a novus ordo? at what points does the priest face the people, and at what points does he lead them in prayer towards the east?

I wonder because I am going to join the seminary very soon (matter of months now) but will not be joining a tradional order.


I would follow the 1962 rubrics as much as is possible. The priest rarely turns towards the congregation, and only does so when the prayer is addressed to the people: like “ecce agnus dei” or the confiteor, final blessing, etc.

Congratulations that you are entering seminary!
Know that you are in our prayers.

As for the NO ad orientem, the OP is right- and I believe the Holy Father has said that that mass, said in Latin, is his personal preference- so hopefully you will get plenty of chances to celebrate such a mass!

Actually, you should not follow the 1962 rubrics at all.

I am in the same position as you, Joe - hoping to enter the seminary in a couple of years, and interested in ad orientem and Latin in the Mass. but it is expressly forbidden to mix any of the rites of the old and new missals. And the ‘extra’ rubrics of the 1962 missal must not be used to ‘supplement’ the current missal.

It’s quite simple a priest would just follow the rubrics of the current missal.

Have a look at an order of mass that has the full rubrics (some daily missals have them, or look in an altar missal) and you will see that the rubrics of the current missal indicate clearly when the priest is to turn to face the people - and he faces the altar unless it says to turn to face the people, or if it says he turns to face the altar. (and of course he faces the people for the inroductory rites and sits for the liturgy of the word - as the rubrics indicate.)

So, just follow the rubrics!:thumbsup:

I am not saying that you should mix rites, only use the 1962 missal to give some hints. The novus ordo isn’t exactly clear when it comes to the direction of the celebrant, so a lot is left to guess work.

I think the current missal is perfectly clear and nothing at all is left to guess work if one reads the rubrics -
If a priest celebrates ‘ad orientem’:
*he starts the Liturgy of the Eucharist stans ad altare, 'standing at the altar’
and he would would turn:
*for the ‘Orate fratres’
(stans … in medio altaris, versus ad populum,…dicit: Orate fratres…)
*for the ‘Pax Domini…’
(Sacerdos, ad populum conversus…subdit: Pax Domini…)
*for the ‘Ecce Agnus Dei’
(Sacerdos…ad populum versus,…dicit: Ecce…)
*then he would turn to face the altar for his communion
(Et sacerdos, ad altare versus, secreto dicit:
Corpus christi custodiat…
Et reverenter sumit Corpus Christi.)

The current Missal’s rubrics clearly and explicitly provide for Mass ‘ad orientem’.

However, a priest is also allowed to celebrate facing the people. (I suppose that when he does so he is technically both ‘versus ad populum’ [turned towards the people] and ‘ad altare versus’ ‘turned towards the altar’] at the same time.)

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit