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Looking to the East

10 January, 2015 0 Comments

By Lyle Dunne.

There has been extensive debate about which of the liturgical “reforms” was the most significant: that abandonment of Latin; new and multiple Eucharistic prayers; the abandonment of aids to focus on the significance of the Eucharist like altar rails, Communion on the tongue and kneeling; the new cycle of readings…

Personally I’ve always thought the idea of orientation was crucial: abandoning the symbolism of a congregation praying together, through the priest, to go, in favour of a symbolism of a closed conversation among the human participants.

Ad Orientem (Photo:

I’ve just received a link to the website of the Church of the Resurrection in Lansing, Michigan, wherein it is disclosed that they have decided to say the (Novus Ordo) Mass ad orientam. I’ve pinched a couple of paras from their website, because I have a feeling that it won’t be on the front page indefinitely:

Praying Ad Orientem

Why We Are Praying Toward The (Liturgical) East At Mass – Read more here

On the First Sunday of Advent 2014, the Church of the Resurrection began celebrating the (Novus Ordo) Mass ad orientem. What that means is that at times during the Mass, especially during the Eucharistic Prayer, the priest and the people face in the same direction, toward the “Liturgical East.” This change followed a period of catechesis and preparation that began two years earlier, when we reflected together on the powerful symbolism of praying toward the  East. Inspired by Pope Benedict XVI’s book, The Spirit of the Liturgy, we began using what is often called the “Benedictine Altar Arrangement.” We placed six candles on the altar, with a crucifix in the center, to help remind us by the very manner of our prayer that we are not praying to each other but rather to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit. The recent change to celebrating ad orientem is helping us accomplish this goal even more fully.

Come and See . . .

As Pastor of the Church of the Resurrection, I invite you to come worship with us. If you do, we all hope you will come with an open heart ready to encounter the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. In our liturgies, we strive for beauty and reverence that can help us, as our Lord says, “worship in Spirit and in Truth.” (John 4:24) As a parish with a school, we do all we can to help men, women, boys, and girls encounter the Living God.

Looking to the East with you, Fr. Steve Mattson

Now, as far as I’m aware they only say Mass in the Novus Ordo – though the fact that they use the term indicates that they are at least aware of an alternative. And in fact they have “Compline in the Extraordinary Form” on Tuesday nights.

Here’s a link to a little more explanation on the subject, in which a very sound case is made, mentioning lex orandi, lex credendi up front, and making some sound points about what Vatican II did and did not say.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Watch this space.

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