What is Ad Orientem//Catholic Mass

ad orientem

“Together we face towards the Lord who comes,”  is a common phrase used when describing ad orientem in the Catholic Mass.

The posture of the priest when he faces the altar is called ad orientem – meaning to the East. 

The Extraordinary Form of the Latin Mass is always celebrated ad orientem, the ordinary form of the Mass. The Mass since Vatican II, may also be celebrated ad orientem. The rubrics – what the Church uses to guide bishops, priests, and deacons in how to celebrate the Eucharistic liturgy – of the Ordinary Form presumes the priest is offering the Mass ad orientem. The Church encourages all priests to celebrate Mass in this manner.

The Priest and the Catholic Mass

Fr. Jerry Byrd offers Mass facing the East – ad orientem – the direction of the Rising Sun, from where Christ will come. Thus, during Sacred Worship, we all face toward the Lord at the churches of Jennings County.

The priest as head of the congregation and with the congregation – turns toward the Lord during the prayer, above all during the Eucharistic Prayer.

We do this to render more visible our recognition that it is Our Lord Himself Who inspires our prayer and Who acts during the Eucharistic Prayer to make sacramentally present His Sacrifice on Calvary for our eternal salvation. 

More Resources about Ad Orientem

We all turn to Christ. We all look to Christ in the same direction with ad orientem. 

Facing Our Lord in Sacred Worship gives form to our daily living. In everything that we think, say and do, we are to turn to the Lord. Though we live and are engaged in the life of the world, we do so always with our eyes fixed on Heaven.

For other resources:

Listen to Fr. Byrd’s explanation on Spotify.

Watch Fr. Mike Schmitz explain ad orientem.