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Ordo Missae of the 1962 Missale Romanum

Handbook for Altar Servers

by the Archconfraternity of St. Stephen

  Missa Cantata

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Prepare in the sacristy and sanctuary as for High Mass, except that the corporal and chalice should be prepared on the altar.

For this Mass the servers are: Two acolytes, thurifer (if there is incense), and master of ceremonies or one assistant server for the celebrant.

Though on principle a Missa Cantata does not admit of the use of incense, the Sacred Congregation of Rites does in certain cases grant an indult for the use of the thurible on special solemnities and where it is impossible to have deacon and subdeacon.*(*Cf. Vavasseur, Ceremonial, Ed. ix, vol. I, p. 520, n.288).

The Master of Ceremonies, or the assistant server acting as master of ceremonies, receives the biretta and kneels on the celebrant's left, and responds as at Low Mass. He accompanies the celebrant to the altar, then passes to his right, receives the boat from the THURIFER and presents the spoon; when the incense has been put in, he receives the thurible and gives it to the celebrant with the usual kisses. As soon as the THURIFER has given the thurible to the MASTER OF CEREMONIES, he passes to the left of the celebrant to assist with the MASTER OF CEREMONIES in raising the chasuble. Both MASTER OF CEREMONIES and THURIFER genuflect when the celebrant bows before the crucifix. Meanwhile the FIRST ACOLYTE removes the missal stand and replaces it after the incensation. The celebrant gives the thurible to the MASTER OF CEREMONIES, who receives it with the customary kisses. The MASTER OF CEREMONIES and THURIFER descend on the Epistle side in plano. The MASTER OF CEREMONIES incenses the celebrant with three double swings, the THURIFER standing on the left of the MASTER OF CEREMONIES. 

After the incensation the MASTER OF CEREMONIES returns the thurible to the THURIFER, who takes it to the sacristy and returns to the credence. the MASTER OF CEREMONIES assists the celebrant at the missal; at the end of the recital of the Gloria he descends with the celebrant per breviorem to the bench, where he assists as usual, and at the proper time returns with the celebrant per longiorem, lifting his alb as he ascends, and then goes to the missal. The Mass proceeds as usual.

The THURIFER acts as at High Mass. Towards the end of the Gradual, Alleluia or Tract the MASTER OF CEREMONIES assists as before with THURIFER and thurible. The THURIFER goes to the credence, leaves the boat on the credence, and with the ACOLYTES proceeds to the middle to meet the MASTER OF CEREMONIES coming down with the missal, they genuflect together, and the MASTER OF CEREMONIES goes straight up with the book to the Gospel side; meanwhile the ACOLYTES, with the THURIFER, go and stand on the Gospel side in plano; the THURIFER on the outside, the FIRST ACOLYTE on his left and the SECOND ACOLYTE next to him, facing the celebrant. After the word sequentia the THURIFER gives the thurible to the MASTER OF CEREMONIES, who hands it to the celebrant with the customary kisses, and after the incensation receives it again and returns it to the THURIFER, who takes up again his place next to the ACOLYTES during the singing of the Gospel. At the close of the Gospel the MASTER OF CEREMONIES descends, receives the thurible from the thurifer and incenses the celebrant as usual; the ACOLYTES after genuflecting in the middle return to the credence. After the incensation the MASTER OF CEREMONIES goes up and moves the missal towards the center of the altar.

If the Credo follows immediately, the THURIFER waits in the middle in plano for its intonation, and at the word Deum bows, genuflects and retires. If there is no Credo, he bows at Oremus, genuflects and goes to the credence and waits until the incense is required. If the Credo is sung, the M.C. acts as at the Gloria.

At the Offertory, as soon as the celebrant has said Oremus, the SECOND ACOLYTE goes to the altar to take the chalice veil and places it on the credence. The FIRST ACOLYTE meanwhile brings the cruets and removes them in the usual manner. Then the THURIFER should ascend the altar for the imposition of incense, passing to the left of the celebrant as before.

While the celebrant incenses the oblations and the crucifix, the FIRST ACOLYTE comes to the middle, genuflects and goes straight up to the altar, removes the missal stand, descends on the Gospel side, and after the celebrant has incensed that side of the altar, the FIRST ACOLYTE follows him and replaces the book, then descends in plano, genuflects and goes to the credence.

During the incensation the MASTER OF CEREMONIES and THURIFER genuflect whenever the celebrant bows to the cross, but only after the oblations have been incensed and not before. When the altar has been incensed, the MASTER OF CEREMONIES receives the thurible and incenses the celebrant as usual.

Then he gives the thurible to the THURIFER who proceeds to incense the M.C., choir and people in the same manner as at High Mass. Meanwhile the FIRST ACOLYTE with the towel and the SECOND with the water cruet and dish approach the celebrant, bowing before and after as usual; they then return to the credence. The MASTER OF CEREMONIES remains at the missal to assist the celebrant.

For the TORCHES the same rules apply as at High Mass. Everything now proceeds as in High Mass until the Elevation. At the Hanc igitur an ACOLYTE puts incense in the thurible. At the Elevation the FIRST ACOLYTE will ring the bell, and the THURIFER will incense the Blessed Sacrament as at High Mass.

During the Elevation the MASTER OF CEREMONIES should kneel on the predella to the celebrant's right and lift the chasuble with his left hand. If it is local custom, the SECOND ACOLYTE may go to the middle, genuflect, and kneel on the predella at the celebrant's left, and lift the chasuble with his right hand. After the Elevation the MASTER OF CEREMONIES will go straight to the missal and remain at the altar, assisting the celebrant until the missal has to be removed. The THURIFER having retired, as in High Mass, with the TORCHBEARERS, returns and stands between the ACOLYTES at the credence. If the SECOND ACOLYTE has assisted on the predella, he will descend in plano, genuflect, and return to his place.

At the ablutions the FIRST ACOLYTE will assist with the cruets as in a Low Mass with one server. The SECOND ACOLYTE, taking the chalice veil, proceeds to the middle to meet the MASTER OF CEREMONIES coming from the Gospel side with the book; they genuflect together, and the MASTER OF CEREMONIES proceeds to the Epistle side, while the SECOND ACOLYTE lays the chalice veil on the altar near the corporal. The SECOND ACOLYTE descends, genuflects and goes to the credence. The MASTER OF CEREMONIES remains to the right of the celebrant on the Epistle side.

If the last Gospel should be read from the missal, the MASTER OF CEREMONIES will remove the book as soon as the celebrant goes to the center, so as to be kneeling in his right place at the Blessing. If there is no special Gospel, the MASTER OF CEREMONIES closes the book and goes to the Gospel side to respond to the celebrant.

During the last Gospel the MASTER OF CEREMONIES brings the biretta, and waits on the Epistle side for the celebrant.

N.B. -- Throughout the Missa Cantata the MASTER OF CEREMONIES makes all the responses to the celebrant.

Note. -- When the sacristy is a distance from the altar, the torches are kept at the credence or abacus, and here also the thurifer places the thurible when not in use during the Mass.

N.B. This edition of The Altar Server’s Handbook, originally published by the Archconfraternity of St. Stephen a century ago, contains in its pages  directives which do not necessarily correspond to the 1962 Missale Romanum or the serving tutorial on the Sancta Missa website. The handbook is intended as a possible aid for parishes or individuals interested in implementing a similar guild.
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