Sunday, 17 December 2006

Versus Apsidem

Just read a great post from Don Marco about how a year ago he started saying Mass facing east in the Monastery of the Glorious Cross in Branford, Connecticut (Benedictine nuns), where he is Chaplain. For the benefit of visitors, he pinned a 'pastoral notice' in the monastery narthex:

It is good, from time to time, to break with routine and do what we do daily from a different perspective. Given that the reformed liturgy gives the priest the option of standing in front of the altar, one with the people, for the Eucharistic Prayer, I will avail myself of this option during the seven days before Christmas. We are no longer accustomed to doing this, but it remains a venerable and perfectly legitimate practice. It is especially suited to these last days of Advent when the whole Church faces in one direction, scanning the horizon, waiting for the coming of her Lord.

Pope Benedict XVI explains this very well. He says, “Looking at the priest has no importance. What matters is looking together at the Lord. It is not (in the Eucharistic Prayer) a question of dialogue but of common worship, of setting off toward the One who is to come. What corresponds with the reality of what is happening is not the closed circle but the common movement forward, expressed in a common direction for prayer.”

Let us then welcome a change in our routine during these last days of Advent, not for the sake of change, but in order to advance together toward the Lord who came, who comes, and who is to come.

Well put - and the usage has been used at Branford ever since! It's always good to make use of the legitimate options provided by Holy Mother Church. By the way, Don Marco's blog, Vultus Christi, is beautifully presented and well worth a visit.



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