Beginning on the First Sunday of Advent 2016, the Parish has begun offering all Masses ad orientem, as a greater sign of the people’s turning together to the Lord and in response to Robert Cardinal Sarah’s words.
In July 2016 in London, for the Conference entitled Sacra Liturgia, Robert Cardinal Sarah, the Prefect of the Holy See’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, urged that “it is very important 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, in those parts of the liturgical rites when we are addressing God. This practice is permitted by current liturgical legislation.”
At the same Conference, Cardinal Sarah recounted the Holy Father’s, Pope Francis’, appeal to him which is “to study the question of a reform of a reform and the way in which the two forms of the Roman rite could enrich each other.”
Offering the Mass ad orientem is a practical way of continuing the authentic reforms initiated by Vatican II’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium. Active participation, which the Constitution promoted, is enhanced through ad orientem: “[Active participation] consists, first of all, of allowing ourselves to be led to follow Christ in the mystery of his death and of his resurrection. ‘One doesn’t go to Mass to attend a representation. One goes to participate in the mystery of God,’ Pope Francis reminded us very recently. The orientation of the assembly toward the Lord is a simple and concrete means to encourage a true participation for all at the liturgy,” according to Cardinal Sarah (Interview with Famille Chretienne, May 23, 2016).