"The Preachers chiefly shall take heed that they teach nothing in their preaching, which they would have the people religiously to observe and believe, but that which is agreeable to the Doctrine of the Old Testament and the New, and that which the Catholick Fathers and Ancient Bishops have gathered out of that Doctrine." A proposed canon of Elizabeth I, 1571

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Location: Bedford, Texas, United States

I am a presbyter in the diocese of Fort Worth, Texas (Anglican Church in North America). I serve as Chaplain at St. Vincent's School and as a canon of St. Vincent's Cathedral Church in Bedford, Texas. In addition to my parish duties and teaching Religion classes in the school I am also the Middle School Social Studies teacher.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Saint Mary's Chapel at St. Vincent's Cathedral Church

This picture was taken today before noon Mass at St. Mary's Chapel in St. Vincent's Cathedral Church in Bedford, Texas. The altar of the chapel has recently been relocated to allow the priest and people to offer the Eucharist together, facing the same direction. Posted by Hello


Anonymous Anonymous said...

East-facing altar! Praise the Lord! What a wonderfully refreshing sign. THank you,


9:29 PM  
Blogger Julian said...

Couldn't they have faced the same direction before if they wanted to, though? Doesn't necessarily have to be backed up against the wall, right?

12:20 AM  
Blogger texanglican said...

True, MB. I think there was enough room for the celebrant in front of the altar even before they moved it. I think the clergy just felt that didn't "feel" right. It would have obviously left significantly more empty space between the altar and the wall than between the celebrant's back and the first row of pews while the Eucharistic prayer was being said. Perhaps that made the clergy feel uncomfortable? Any way, I just thought readers of this blog might find this move of interest.

7:32 AM  
Blogger Julian said...

Oh OK, that makes sense. It's just that for small table shaped altars, I tend to think there's something to be said for having it "stand out" a little no matter which way you face - and why not leave the option - but yes, I'm glad people do it.

12:54 PM  
Blogger texanglican said...

Actually, I was reading a book about late antique Syrian churches yesterday and the pattern in all of them was for a free standing altar, away from the wall, at which the celebrant faced east during the Eucharistic prayer. So your preference has an excellent historical pedigree. The sanctuary of our Lady chapel might be just a bit too small to allow such a set up, unfortunately.

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have also read that the most ancient custon was for the altar to be free-standing but for the priest to face east. The Church of the Ascension and St. Agnes in DC is like this, though the candlesticks and large crucifix are mounted directly on the altar. Quite nice, actually.


8:55 PM  
Blogger Father Nelson said...

Randall.. it's not only that way in the Syrian Church, but all over the East.

Also, has any thought been put towards placing a nice oriental rug on the footpace?

9:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has there been any consideration of doing the same thing with the high altar of the cathedral nave? Putting it nearer the tabernacle and facing east?


10:46 AM  
Blogger texanglican said...

Lee, I think a carpet would be in order, especially since the place where the altar's legs were in the chapel hasn't been waxed in years and it would be hard to make it match the other tile properly.

There has frequently been talk of moving the main altar, Adam, but unfortunately the lectern and pulpit would interpose between the sacred ministers and the congregation if we moved the altar back in the sancturary and the seats for the ministers to the side. (The sacred ministers sit behind the altar at present, facing the congregation, for those unfamiliar with St. Vincent's.) It would require some significant reworking of things to move the altar back very much in the main church. It is possible that it could be moved back a couple of feet, though, giving plenty of room--I think--for the celebrant to come around to the front for the Eucharistic prayer.

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, all of these good liturgical innovations after I leave the place!!
It would be great if the main sanctuary could be rearranged... but don't forget, the celebrant already faces east in the current setup. Perhaps we should just ask the parishioners to turn around and face the narthex during the canon. Might speak to a healthy eschatalogical view of the Mass.

7:16 PM  

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