“Back towards the people” or “Together towards the Rising Sun”?

This year, for the season of Lent Saint Giles Episcopal Church, which holds a 9:00am Sunday service in the Saint Mary's Chapel, will celebrate the Holy Eucharist together according to two older traditions. First, the Sunday service will follow the penitential form of Rite I from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, which uses Elizabethan English. Second, the prayers the priest offers on behalf of the church will be done in the manner of an ancient Christian liturgical posture called ad orientem making use of the chapel's High AltarAd orientem literally translates “toward the east” or “towards the rising sun.” Christ himself is understood as the Rising Sun whose dawn marks the consummation of all things in a restoration to Paradise. In ad orientem, the prayers are not something done by an isolated priest celebrating with his/her “back to the people,” but by the priest looking together with the congregation towards the East in an eschatological outlook towards Christ, the Rising Sun. There is opportunity for a deep “togetherness” to manifest, as the priest and people pray together towards the Sun of Righteousness.

For more information visit or join the service Sunday at 9:00am. 

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Saint Mary's College of California
1928 Saint Mary's Road
Moraga, CA 94575
(925) 631-4000
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