To face the people or not to face them (saying Mass) . . .

. . . That is the question, given a quite reasonable answer by a priest writing into Fr. Z in 2016:

After my entry into the Catholic Church from Anglicanism and ordination as a Catholic priest, I approached the Archbishop about offering the Mass ad orientem.  

His guidance to me was to “catechize the people” regarding whatever I was going to do.  Since that time, at the 3 successive assignments I have had, I have periodically done just that.

Other priests whom I have served alongside have had varying reactions, some positive and some negative.  In my current assignment, the priest here with me also started occasionally offering the Mass this way a few years ago, and has noticed that his perspective on the priesthood and the Mass has changed.

Something worth pursuing there.

With the arrival of the 1st Sunday of Advent, I took the opportunity for a renewal of this catechesis of the people as part of the homily.  Currently, of the 13 Masses we have in an average week, 12 of them are offered ad orientem, though the last one may be shifting now in Advent.

Nuptial and funeral Masses may remain ad populum at times here, but that will be dependent upon pastoral discussion with the family involved. [boldface not mine]

I call that very interesting. It coincides with what Fr. Tony Brankin did, for instance, at his Berwyn IL parish, St. Odilo’s, as I reported in 2007 for Chicago Daily Observer. It was easy-does-it at first, gently ushering his parishioners into something old and new at the same time.