Movement of Missal during mass

Church Movement and Sacred Space Terms – Gospel side/epistle side

Someone asked me the other day “Why do we move the missal from one side to the other?” It has to do with movement from the epistle side of the altar to the gospel side of the altar. What follows below is from a blog post by the Liturgy Guy.[1]

“Unlike in the New Mass, where the Liturgy of the Word (Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel) are all read from the ambo, in the Traditional Mass both the Epistle and Gospel are read at the altar by the priest. However, while the Missal sits on the right side of the altar for the first reading, the server moves the Missal to the left side for the proclamation of the Gospel. This brief procession, in which the altar server may also be joined by a thurifer and torch bearers, can be an act of liturgical mystery for the newcomer.

In his pre-conciliar classic, The Latin Mass Explained,[2] Monsignor George Moorman helps to explain the meaning behind this moving of the Missal from right to left:

After the reading of the Gradual or Tract, the server carries the Missal to the left (or Gospel) side of the altar. According to an old custom, church and altar should be erected in such a manner that the priest faces the East (ad orientem) when offering Mass. If this custom is followed, the priest will face toward the North when reading the Gospel. As the South, with its luxuriant vegetation, was regarded as a type of the realm of grace, so the cold North, with its extensive wastes, came to be regarded as the realm of evil…But when the Gospel of Christ was preached, the face of the earth was renewed, and love for God and for virtue was re-enkindled in the hearts of men.

As with many liturgical practices that have organically developed over the centuries, the symbolism behind this traditional practice has other meanings as well. Msgr. Moorman explains another such one:

The Jews, to whom the “Gospel of the Kingdom” was first preached, rejected it. It was then carried to the Gentiles. This is symbolized by carrying the Missal to the other side of the altar. Transferring the Missal from one side of the altar to the other also recalls to our minds how Our Lord was led about from one iniquitous judge to another.

This traditional understanding behind the moving of the Missal from right to left can also be found in the 19th century classic The Catechism Explained[3] by Father Francis Spirago:

The Epistle, the carrying across of the missal, the Gospel and the Creed, are to remind us that the Gospel was first preached to the Jews, and being rejected by them, was proclaimed to the Gentiles, many of whom believed and were baptized.”

In the Ordinariate we continue this tradition of moving the missal from the Epistle side to the Gospel side and the Gospel is read from the ambo, or carried in procession and read from the middle of the nave.  These liturgical actions are not remnants of a decaying past, but a lived reality where movements, and symbols, have real meaning.

The Last Gospel[4]

Immediately after the Last Blessing the priest goes to the Gospel side of the altar. There he says, “[The Lord be with you],” and makes the Sign of the Cross on the altar, and then on his forehead, lips, and breast. This is just as he did at the first Gospel.

As we make the Sign of the Cross on our forehead, lips, and breast, we can have the same thoughts as we did before the first Gospel. We want our minds to know about Our Lord and His teachings. We want our voices and tongues to make them known. We want our hearts to love them. We know we prove our love for the teachings of Our Lord by putting them into practice in our everyday life.

On most days, the Last Gospel is the same. It is the first fourteen verses of the Holy Gospel written by St. John. Parts of the Last Gospel are given at the beginning of this lesson. Sometimes there is a special Last Gospel. You can tell when this special Last Gospel is being read. The altar boy moves the Missal from the Epistle to the Gospel side of the altar. The priest always reads a special Last Gospel from the Missal . The first fourteen verses of the Gospel of St. John are printed on the card on the Gospel side of the altar.

These fourteen verses from the Gospel of St. John speak about Our Lord. They tell that He is God. They also tell that He became man. The priest and people bend their knees to adore Our Lord, God made man. They do so at the words of the Last Gospel, “And the Word was made flesh.”

In the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is God, has been made flesh again.

At the end of the Last Gospel [we] say, “Thanks be to God.”  …  With the priest they have been thinking of Our Lord, Who is God. They know how He came again upon earth in Holy Mass. He has been the victim of the Holy Sacrifice just offered. He has been our gift to God. He became our food. Yes, He became food for our soul. For these reasons we say, “Thanks be to God.”

Below is an explanation of sacred space within the church and where everything is in the church.

*Note: The map below uses a liturgical compass. When the faithful in the Nave face the Altar, they face Liturgical East, where the sun rises and the day begins, representing the Resurrection and a new creation. Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead in the near East, and at the end of time, the Lord will come to Earth from the East.

The Sacristy is the area where the sacred vestments, vessels, and linens are stored, and the ministers prepare to celebrate a liturgical action. In the Sacristy there is a special sink which drains straight into the earth, and not the sewer. This drain is called the Sacrarium. It is used to dispose of old Holy Water, holy oils, and leftover ashes. The words Sacristy and Sacrarium are derived from the Latin word Sacer, which means “sacred.”

The Sanctuary is the holy place where the ordained celebrate the sacred mysteries. The word Sanctuary is derived from the Latin word sanctus, which means “holy.” Aside from being the place of the Altar, the Sanctuary is also the place where the Tabernacle, the receptacle which holds the Blessed Sacrament, is kept. A Sanctuary Lamp is kept lit to indicate and honor the presence of the Eucharistic Christ in the Tabernacle.

The Apse is a five-sided architectural structure which surrounds the rear of the Sanctuary. The word Apse derives from the Latin word apsis, which means “arch or vault.”

The Ambulatory is the walkway behind the high altar. Ambulatory is derived from the Latin word ambulo, which means “I walk.”

The Ambo is the podium from which both the Gospel and other Scripture readings are read aloud. Ambo is derived from the Latin word ambi, which means “both.”

The Ambry is a receptacle that houses the holy oils (Chrism Oil, Oil of the Sick, Oil of Catechumens). Ambry is derived from the Latin word armarium, which means “closet.”

The Altar of Sacrifice is the mensa (table) on which the one bloody sacrifice of Calvary is offered in an unbloody manner and the Body and Blood of our Lord is made present. It sits on a platform called the predella.

The Chancel is the platform in front of the Foot of the Altar (the Foot is the first step leading up to the Altar). The word Chancel is derived from the Latin word cancellus, which means “sing.” The area in front of the Foot of the Altar is the area from where the sacred ministers would chant the liturgy.

Altar Rails
The Altar Rails divide the Sanctuary from the Nave. They are marks of separation around which the faithful can gather.

The Crossing is the domed area where the Nave, Chancel, and Transepts (the two arms of a cross- shaped church building) intersect.

The Nave is the area where the faithful assemble to sit, stand, or kneel as called for in the rubrics. From the Latin word for ship, navis, the assembled faithful are on a ship, as it were, a vessel that keeps them safe on their journey to Heaven. The Nave may contain confessionals, pews, holy water fonts, and stained glass windows that depict Saints or scriptural events. It might also contain clearstory windows, placed high above for the purpose of letting in natural light.

When in the Narthex, the faithful are not yet technically inside the church. In the early Church, penitents and catechumens (unbaptized persons preparing for Baptism) were confined to this area until their reconciliation with or admittance into the Church took place.



[3] A free e-book available in many different formats

[4] Adapted from: The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan


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Holy Hour of Reparation

Here at Cowwarr we have started a Holy Hour of Reparation to the Sacred Heart as asked for by Pope Pius XI, in the Encyclical, Miserentissimus Redemptor.

In the Encyclical, Pope PiusXI said this:

16. But it is yet more to be lamented, Venerable Brethren, that among the faithful themselves, washed in Baptism with the blood of the immaculate Lamb, and enriched with grace, there are found so many men of every class, who laboring under an incredible ignorance of Divine things and infected with false doctrines, far from their Father’s home, lead a life involved in vices, a life which is not brightened by the light of true faith, nor gladdened by the hope of future beatitude, nor refreshed and cherished by the fire of charity; so that they truly seem to sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. Moreover, among the faithful there is a greatly increasing carelessness of ecclesiastical discipline, and of those ancient institutions on which all Christian life rests, by which domestic society is governed, and the sanctity of marriage is safeguarded; the education of children is altogether neglected, or else it is depraved by too indulgent blandishments, and the Church is even robbed of the power of giving the young a Christian education; there is a sad forgetfulness of Christian modesty especially in the life and the dress of women; there is an unbridled cupidity of transitory things, a want of moderation in civic affairs, an unbounded ambition of popular favor, a depreciation of legitimate authority, and lastly a contempt for the word of God, whereby faith itself is injured, or is brought into proximate peril.

What was true in 1928 is true today, though much worse.  In many ways there has been a slow degradation of the Catholic Faith as to be almost unrecognizable in many places as Catholic.  So every Thursday for one hour we offer the Holy Hour of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  We use something similar to the Holy Hour here (pdf).

Please join us wherever you are for this Holy Hour.  Nothing will change in this world unless we sacrifice our time, our talents, and our prayers to God in reparation for our sins, both individual, and corporate.

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Advent IV Bulletin

Below is the link to our latest Church Bulletin.

Advent 4s 2017

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Gippsland Ordinariate Update

It has been a while since I have last written anything on this blog.  Over four months and a  lot has happened in that time.  As you doubt are aware we have a small Parish here in Gippsland.   My wife, Carmel, and I were running a Motel to pay for the ministry, and our life.  Since last I wrote we have sold the Motel.  One of the downsides of selling was that we did not get the price we were asking though our debts are paid, thanks be to God. We ceased at the Motel on the 4th July, and we have been madly trying to get the presbytery in Cowwarr liveable.

For the last year and a half we had been trying to secure the Cowwarr presbytery for us as a home, and be closer to where I offer the Holy Sacrifice. Thanks to the local Bishop, the Bishop of Sale, we have secured the presbytery for us as a home..  This has been a wonderful thing for Carmel and I as it has meant that we have a home to live in..  Of course, the downside to this is that as I am not one of the priests in the Diocese of Sale, costing of the repairs to the presbytery have had to be met by both parties.  The old presbytery was in decline with no work having been done in her for many a year.  Yet, through the good graces of the local church community at Cowwarr, and the donation by a few people of their time and their talents we are where we are today.  Painting has been quite a chore as the plaster work had to be fixed up, many cracks, and I mean lots of them, were fixed.  The presbytery is almost completed.

It is a lovely presbytery, and the local community have been very welcoming.  One of the things that I am most grateful for is that I now get to say a daily mass.  We are also planting out the grounds with a cottage garden and are looking at establishing a small vineyard on the back paddock.  To that end we have planted 5o or so grapevines.

The Ordinariate community here continues to grow, though slowly.  There is a family who have joined us.  They drive over an hour to join us for Sunday mass, and it is never easy. Other people drive 45 minutes, or more.  God is great, He has lead these people to us in the Ordinariate, and He continues to give.  We have been praying for more families to join us, and families attract families.  Especially if the faith is taught, the Magisterium is obeyed, and the Sacraments are filled with awe, beauty, and reverence.

I have also been contacted by other families looking for a place to settle.  While it would be good for the Ordinariate to have them I just pray that they can discern God’s will for them.  It seems that people are willing to move when they can find a suitable spiritual home for themselves.  We now have 25 people regularly who come to mass with about another ten making it every so often.

I now utilise two churches in the Diocese of Sale.  The one in the photo where I celebrate all weekday masses, and Heyfield where I offer the sacrifice on a Sunday.  the local Catholics, those not Ordinariate, are starting to use our mass if they miss theirs.  I sometimes have to stop myself from worrying about growth as it has only been four years since I have been ordained a Catholic priest, and five years since the Ordinariate has been established.

With the permission of the local parish priest of Mirboo North I will be starting to offer mass there once a month, 5.00pm of a Sunday.  I have yet to make up my mind on which Sunday.  It will lessen the burden on the family at Leongatha, and will be another avenue for outreach.

I did not manage to do all that I wanted this year owing to falling off a ladder, selling the business, moving, painting, shoulder surgery, more painting, gardening and church duties.   However, some things have been accomplished.  Mass is offered every day, visitations are taking place, prayer is being offered, and plans are being made for next year.

All praise to God who has enabled us to be here.

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A Day with Mary

The editor of Into the Deep, a monthly Catholic newsletter, wrote the following about the Day with Mary that we had on the on 13 May 2017.

The Ordinariate Parish of the Most Holy Family hosted “A Day with Mary” in Cowwarr, Victoria. This day marked the 100th anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady at Fatima. The theme of the day was “Our Lady, Queen of the Holy Rosary”. Fr Ken Clark gave two talks during the day. Following are some points I made in my notes while listening to the talks:

  • We forget the apparitions of the angel prior to Our Lady’s. The angel prostrated himself before the Blessed Sacrament and prayed. The children, being children, did the same. We must learn to follow the same way. We must acknowledge Christ in the sacrament of the altar.
  • In all the tabernacles of the world, God resides. Give him his due honour.
  • When I was Anglican, I thought all Catholics pray the rosary. Since being a Catholic priest, I realise how few pray the rosary!
     So much is written and people get confused about the messages. It’s hard to understand how we, with the sacrifice of a sore finger for example, can help in the overall salvation of the world.
  • We must unite our pain, our small sacrifice, to the pain of Christ.
  • Offer sacrifice. Tell Our Lady: “I’m sorry for the blasphemies against you and all the sacrileges against you.”
  • The messages of Fatima are relatively simple. We have trouble doing them because we don’t like to be obedient. We like to think we’re all grown up.
  • Fundamental to the message of Fatima is that we must pray the rosary daily in reparation for our sin and the sins of the whole world.
  • Make sacrifice – in our situation, where we find it. Not big, just little. Offer up arthritis pain, things we don’t like doing, mundane daily tasks.
  • Do penance. Not for oneself but for millions who are doomed to Hell unless we do something about it.
  • Unite your prayers with self-denial.
  • Hell is the destination of all who commit mortal sin without repentance. It is a place we choose; a place where we are separated from God; where we are still loved, but we don’t know it.
  • Mary is the perfect disciple, the Living Tabernacle, the Holy of Holies. If we do nothing except imitate her faith and obedience to what her Son has asked her to do, then we walk in the path of God.
  • Peter said we live in troubled times. Pope Pius X said the world is moving away from Christ. All down the ages the world has done what it likes. We are to pray for the world to be converted.
  • God’s plan at Fatima was to point out the destination of those who do not believe, and show us the way to save them.
  • God made us out of love and wants us to be with him.
  • The call of Fatima: Pray the rosary. Do penance. Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Pray for all to be converted. Five First Saturdays.
  • The Five First Saturdays is in reparation for offenses against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It entails: Holy Communion on the first Saturday of five consecutive months; Confession within 8 days either side; say the rosary and meditate for 15 minutes on the mysteries.
  • If we pray the rosary and do the Five First Saturdays, the world will improve.
  • Fatima is a call to love.
  • If we want the world to change, if we want what God wants, it has to start with us.
  • Holiness spreads. We must be true to what God has called us to be. Be obedient.
  • What are you doing? Praying. Who are you praying for? Sinners. How? The rosary.

The Day with Mary also included Confessions, Mass, the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet, a procession with the statue of Our Lady of Fatima around the grounds of Cowwarr parish and the crowning of the statue. The Day with Mary will be an annual event hosted by the Ordinariate parish and everyone is most welcome.

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A Day with Mary – Centenary of the First Apparition at Fatima

Ordinariate Parish of the Most Holy Family

Come Spend a Day with Our Lady,
Queen of the Most Holy Rosary

Saturday, May 13th 9.00am

St Brigid’s Church, Cowwarr

  • 9.00am: Fatima Prayers & Rosary
  • 9.00am – 10.30am: Confession available
  • 10.00am: Morning Tea: 
  • 11.00am: Fr Ken Clark: Fatima and Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary
  • 12.00 noon: Marian Procession, Crowning of Our Lady & Mass:
  • 1.00pm: BYO Lunch: 
  • 2.00pm: The Message of Fatima & Indulgence
  • 3.00pm: Closing with Divine Mercy Chaplet
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Gippsland Ordinariate Bulletin

I am trying something new this week and sharing the Sunday Bulletin for the Gippsland Ordinariate Group.  Hopefully, people will get to see, and share, what we are about, and find somethiing to read, and grow deeper in love with our Lord.  I try to include teachings from the Magisterium, and other readings of interest when I can.

Septuagesima:  septuagesima-a-2017: Septuagesima Insert: septuagesima-insert-a

Quinquagesima: quinquagesima-a-2017-doc

First Sunday in Lent: lent-1-a-2017

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