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Ordained in 2011, Father Friel served for five years as Parochial Vicar at St. Anselm Parish in Northeast Philly. He is currently studying toward an STL in sacred liturgy at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
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“How can we enter into this interior disposition except by turning physically—all together, priest and faithful—toward the Lord who comes, toward the East symbolized by the apse where the cross is enthroned? The outward orientation leads us to the interior orientation that it symbolizes. Since apostolic times, Christians have been familiar with this way of praying. It is not a matter of celebrating with one’s back to the people or facing them, but toward the East, «ad Dominum», toward the Lord.”
— Robert Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship (October 2016)

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Feeling the Absence
published 29 March 2013 by Fr. David Friel

LL THROUGHOUT THE DAY TODAY, my mind and heart have been preoccupied with a sense of absence. Even upon waking, there seemed to be something monumental missing. I realized during the course of this morning what was the cause of this uncomfortable sense: no Mass today.

Every day of my priesthood, I have exercised my sacred duty to offer the holy sacrifice of the Mass—except for Good Friday. This is the only day of the year when no Mass is celebrated.

Our Mother, the Church, calls us each year to go beyond the sense of absence on this day so as to enter into contemplation of the very first Mass (and the only true Mass), which is the sacrifice of Christ on Mount Calvary. On Holy Thursday, we memorialize the institution of the Mass, and the next day we refrain from offering the Mass so that we can focus on its incredible reality.

I’m grateful to have felt the absence, because it assures me that the Lord has placed a longing in my heart for the Mass. This is a wonderful gift for a priest to receive.