Priests should consider celebrating Mass ad orientem starting the first Sunday of Advent this year, Cardinal Robert Sarah told the Sacra Liturgia conference in London on Wednesday.
“It is very important,” he told the attendees, mostly priests, “that we return as soon as possible to a common orientation, of priests and the faithful turned together in the same direction – eastwards or at least towards the apse – to the Lord who comes.”
Exactly when they might start ad orientem worship he left up to their pastoral discretion; nonetheless, he recommended the first Sunday of Advent as a fitting time to adopt the practice.
“Your own pastoral judgement will determine how and when this is possible, but perhaps beginning this on the first Sunday of Advent this year, when we attend ‘the Lord who will come’ and ‘who will not delay.”
Cardinal Sarah, who was appointed by Pope Francis in 2014 as the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, has previously expressed his position that Mass should be celebrated ad orientem. In May of this year, he told the French magazine Famille Chrétienne that “from the Offertory onwards… it is essential that the priest and faithful look together towards the east. This corresponds exactly to what the [Second Vatican] Council Fathers wanted.”
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