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

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