Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Active Participation

. . . since the earliest times, Mass has been celebrated with both the people and priest facing the same direction, ad orientem, toward the East. Even after Churches were built where it was not literally possible to face East, then at least symbolically the priest and people were turned toward the Lord. It had nothing to do with trying to obstruct people's view of what is happening, or of the priest turning his back on the people. Nor is it even primarily for the sake of facing the altar or tabernacle. Rather, when the priest and faithful together face the same way, it manifests our common act of worship; it symbolizes our common pilgrimage toward the returning Lord, the Sun of Justice and our hope in the resurrection and the world beyond the here-and-now, our pilgrimage to the Promised Land.
— Father Gary Coulter, Ad orientem Mass today? Celebrating the Mass facing with the people (ad orientem)

One may ask the bishops, Which is the more active participation in Mass, facing the priest or, with the priest, facing God?


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