While preaching on ad orientem logistics for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, taking emphasis off the knucklehead priest and pointing everyone to the One High Priest, our Eucharistic King, Christ Jesus, a southern Baptist lady in the back of the church cried out: “Praise Jesus!” She later told me that she wanted to everything she could about the Catholic Church and Jesus in the Sacrifice of the Mass, she wanted that lively reverence before Him who gave Himself to redeem us and save us. So, just to say it:
Ad orientem is the best evangelization tool we now have. And in its proper setting.
Stats are now plummeting for Catholics. I thought it was that 70% of Catholics don’t believe in the Eucharistic presence of Jesus. Father Altman just mentioned that this is edging toward 80%.
Are we sick of failure yet? Are we sick of the loss of souls yet? Do we have the fortitude to point to Jesus yet?
The Catholics in the parish to this point for weeks have been 100% positive, recounting profound soul-felt devotion and reverence once again that they haven’t experienced for some fifty+ years.
So, what are we to conclude from that?
One response to “*Ad orientem* joy for Southern Baptist, and – oh yes – Catholics too!”
“Ad orientem is the best evangelization tool we now have. And in its proper setting.” I heartily agree, Father.
The passing of the “old way” of worship was difficult to accept. We got used to the “new” because there was no choice – it was imposed from above (by the hierarchy). Priests, bishops and pope were held in high regard at the time, their authority legitimate – how could they be wrong? And so we acquiesced but my father was bereft. How could the changes be right?
My father’s parents had passed away in the early 1960s, just missing the changes that would have shocked them to the core. Born in the 1800s, their parents and grandparents (Irish Catholic convicts and poverty stricken Irish Catholic immigrants) had helped build the Church here with their meagre incomes: financially supporting priests and religious teaching orders arriving from Ireland (Christian Brothers, Sisters of Mercy etc), building Australia’s mother church (Sydney’s St Mary’s Cathedral) and parish churches and schools wherever they settled. The close, trusting bond between laity, religious orders and clergy couldn’t have been stronger right through into the 2nd half of the 20th century. So what was one to think and do when the changes came? … I bought a mantilla when these became available and as time went on I didn’t mind Mass being in the vernacular but I wished the translation was better. The hardest part for me was the priest with his back to the tabernacle, and then in some churches the tabernacle being moved away and the altar rails disappearing almost everywhere.
Yes, restore the focus on Our Lord (the tabernacle front and centre, and the priest offering Mass ad orientem) and upon reverent reception of Holy Communion (on the tongue and kneeling at the border between sanctuary and nave) and faith will rebound. Before the changes the first thing we did upon entering a church, after blessing ourselves with Holy Water in the narthex, was to genuflect before Our Lord in the tabernacle – it was always front and centre and so we came directly into Our Lord’s Presence – greeting Him as we went down on one knee with the words “my Lord and my God” as taught us from early childhood. Children can’t learn this Act of Faith when the tabernacle isn’t there.