Friday, July 20, 2007


I recently observed the most blatant example of why priests really should face ad orientem.

I was Mass at St. X, where I haven't gone in years, and I observed the priest during the Eucharistic Prayer, doing his absolute best to make the prayer relevant and interesting and applicable and perhaps even entertaining? for all of those present. However, his tactics seemed rather ridiculous when I thought about the context...

He was up there, praying, with his arms outstreched for the entire prayer, and looking around at the congregation, just, I don't know how to describe it in words, I wish I could give a demonstration to you all! but, basically just looking around at everyone and grinning! I mean, in a nice way, but because he was up there at the altar, feeling like he was on display and knowing that everyone was looking at him, he felt so completely obligated to draw them all into it, which seeems nice and maybe not so bad, until I thought about how he was addressing his prayer to God, and here he was looking at all of us and grinning!

I wonder if anyone else noticed how that seems kind of silly. I mean, I know that this priest is very well-intentioned, and has a good heart, and it might not be his fault that he feels he has to face the people, and as a result of that he feels like he has to draw them in somehow, but if he just turned around, and faced the same direction as them, he wouldn't even have to worry about that-he could just pray with them!


Cantor said...

I couldn’t agree more....and yet, when you try to share that thought with almost anyone who was in their teens or older circa 1964, it’s like bringing in the most uninvited guest imaginable to a party.

I don’t understand it.

What I think, though, too, is that lavalier mics would change a good deal of the experience that characterized the “I’m not part of this” feeling that so many owuld associate with ad orientem. You would hear the prayer and thus have an easier time of identifying with it.

BTW, does your priest at your parish do ad orientem?

Mara Joy said...

my priest doesn't. yet. I can't see a single reason why priests wouldn't though! like, other things, I can understand how people are frustrated cuz they can't understand Latin, but really, there is NO reason to not face ad orientem!

Domini Sumus said...

I used to work with a priest who would make exaggerated pious gestures during the Eucharistic prayers. While I am sure he had the best intentions, it was much too theatrical for Mass.