Prepare black vestments for
the sacred ministers in the sacristy, and on the altar light six
candles and place the missal open on the missal-stand.
For the Absolutions the processional cross should be on the Epistle side of the sanctuary and the cope for the celebrant.
The thurifer brings the
thurible for the Offertory and retires after the celebrant has been
incensed. No one else is incensed. At the Elevation the thurifer again
brings the thurible and gives it to the subdeacon for incensing the
Host. During the Mass the thurifer can remain at the credence, kneeling
during the Collects and from the Elevation to the Pax Domini. At the
Post-Communion he retires to the sacristy to fetch the thurible, and
during the Last Gospel brings it to the sanctuary for the Absolutions.
The acolytes carry their
candles in and out and assist without candles at the Gospel. The server
who carries the holy water stoup [bucket] should be at the credence for
After the Last Gospel the
sacred ministers retire to the bench to lay aside their maniples, and
the celebrant puts on the cope, the subdeacon takes the processional
cross, and the procession to the catafalque proceeds as follows:
The server with the holy
water to the right of the thurifer precedes the cross, then come the subdeacon
with the cross and two acolytes with the candles, then the clergy, and
last the deacon with the celebrant, the master of ceremonies or server
carrying the Rituale. All the servers genuflect in passing before the
altar. In the order indicated above the subdeacon and acolytes pass
on the left side of the catafalque, preceded by the thurifer and server
with holy water. The subdeacon and acolytes remain standing facing the
altar at the foot of the catafalque, leaving a space between them and
the catafalque sufficient for the celebrant and deacon to pass; while
the thurifer and server with holy water pass on and take up a position
to the right of the celebrant, who stands at the head of the catafalque.
If the body is present, the
celebrant sings the Non intres; then when the choir have sung the
Libera and begin to repeat the responsory, the thurifer gives the boat
to the M.C. or deacon and presents the thurible, and after the incense
has been put in retires to his former place.
At the last Kyrie the
server gives the aspersorium to the deacon, who passes it to the
celebrant after he has intoned Pater noster. The deacon and celebrant
and master of ceremonies proceed round the catafalque; the server with
the holy water and the thurifer remain in their place, so as to be in
readiness to receive back the aspersorium and hand the thurible to the
After the incensation, the
thurifer and holy water server go and stand behind the subdeacon, so as
to be ready to lead the procession to the church door or the sacristy.
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.