One June 15 the first Mass since the devastating fire was celebrated at Notre Dame in Paris. The video of this Mass is available here.
A few things struck me:
- They really hadn’t thought through the whole ad orientem thing—i.e. when the celebrant should face the people and when he should turn toward the altar. In particular, I don’t see the logic of facing the people for the preface and then turning to the altar for the rest of the Eucharistic Prayer. Clearly, this was not something the bishop was used to doing.
- I was glad to see that they didn’t skimp, music-wise. It is a great thing when a group of Christians can sing the Mass without instrumental accompaniment. It also showed (in light of the recent PrayTell poll) how effective sung dialogues can be. At their best, the French have real style when celebrating the reformed liturgy.
- I found it extremely (and surprisingly) moving when the bishop removed his helmet as he began the institution narrative. It brought to mind the extraordinary vulnerability Jesus displays in his words and actions at the Last Supper. As we enter into that mystery, we too should cast aside all protections.