Celebrating the Mass facing with the people (ad orientem) – Fr. Gary Coulter

What does the Church teach about the priest’s orientation at Mass? After the Second Vatican Council, one most evident change was the construction of freestanding altars. The celebration versus populum (towards the people) was adopted throughout the Latin Church, and it became the prevailing practice during Mass for the celebrant to stand behind the altar facing the congregation. This has led to a widespread misunderstanding that the priest’s “turning his back on the people” is characteristic of the Tridentine rite, the old Latin Mass of Pope Saint Pius V; whereas the priest’s “turning towards the people” belongs to the New Mass of Pope Paul VI. It is also widely thought that the celebration of Mass “facing the people” was required, even imposed, by the liturgical reform of Vatican II.
In reality, the Council did not even mention the issue, only an instruction afterwards said it was desirable to set up a main altar separate from the back wall, so that the priest can walk around it and a celebration facing the people is possible. Contrary to what often took place, the Church never instructed that the old high altars should be torn down, rather that a freestanding altar should be present in the sanctuary – perhaps in addition to the high altar.

Read the whole article here.

The Novus Ordo Mass in Latin – Fr. Gary Coulter

Desiring to celebrate Mass in Latin, one doesn’t have to resort only to the traditional (Tridentine) Rite. The Mass we celebrate after the conciliar reforms can also be in Latin! Here are a few resources to help priests and laity celebrate the Novus Ordo (Vatican II) Rite in Latin.

e-mail: frcoulter@yahoo.com

Our Lady of Good Counsel Retreat House
7303 N. 112th Street
Waverly, NE 68462


Books for singing the Novus Ordo Mass in Latin

For the Novus Ordo (Ordinary Form) the useful book (literally “Liber Usualis”) is the Graduale Romanum published by the Benedictine monks at Solesmes in France. This book has all the ordinary and proper chants for Mass for the whole year. It is approved by the Holy See.

For the priest at the altar, there is not only the 3rd edition of the Missale Romanum, which has musical notation for the parts that can be sung, there is another book by the monks at Solesmes called the Ordo Missae in cantu, which provides all the chants the priests needs.

Another useful little book would be the Cantus Selecti or the Cantus Sacri Selecti which has “selected chants” such as antiphons and other texts for communion time, etc.

Read the whole article on Fr. Z’s Blog.

A reflection on Mass celebrated ad Orientem

By Fr Andrew Wise PP

When the priest is at the High Altar for the Canon or Eucharistic prayer facing the crucifix and tabernacle, he is leading the people in prayer as their representative and mediator, acting in the person of Christ the High Priest. Priest and people together face the same direction, coming through Christ and His cross and resurrection to God the Father. We are a pilgrim people journeying together through this life to our Fathers home above. To put it another way, if you were travelling in a bus, you would hardly want the bus driver to be facing you! You would be glad to see his back as it hopefully means he has his attention on the road ahead. Moreover, we are obviously not offended by looking at the back of the person in the pew in front of us, as we know we are one as a congregation in turning toward the Lord in prayer and worship.

Part I

Part II


The late Bishop Morlino offered Mass ad orientem

From LifeSiteNews:

In 2016, Morlino became the second U.S. bishop to officially adopt the ad orientem posture facing the altar with the people while offering Mass at his regular cathedral parish. He said his flock received this well because he made catechesis on the liturgy a focus of his episcopate.

“The particular community that worships with me have been made aware and catechized about the meaning of ad orientem for years now,” he said. “When I announced to them that I would begin to celebrate in the ad orientem in the Ordinary Form, they smiled and nodded yes.”

Offering Mass this way “enhances beauty, it enhances reverence, and it enhances that feeling of comfort, that predictability that somehow the priest is much less likely to share off-the-cuff when he’s celebrating ad orientem,” said Morlino.

Read full article here.

50 Years of Effete and Infertile Liturgical Culture Is Enough

By Anthony Esolen

Last Sunday I was away from home. It means I must hear Mass somewhere else. (…)

The Second Vatican Council’s document on the liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, says that Latin is the language of the Church; there was no Latin. It says that the pipe organ is best fitted for worship for its grandeur; there was no music on the organ, there was a woman playing the piano, in that style befitting a hotel lounge or a posh funeral parlor—all tinklety-tinkly ninths and elevenths and swoons. Sacrosanctum Concilium says that the people in charge of the music should avail themselves of the vast treasury of Christian hymns; there was one true hymn while the other three were show tunes—slovenly, effeminate, unfit for the liturgy, and impossible to sing for a congregation of both sexes. (…)

Sacrosanctum Concilium says that silence should be respected, but there was no silence. How could there be? We are to be silent before the holy, but at Saint Secular of Southern California there was no sense of the holy.

Read the whole article here.