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Ordo Missae of the 1962 Missale Romanum

Handbook for Altar Servers

by the Archconfraternity of St. Stephen

  Solemn Requiem High Mass

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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 the Absolution.

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 deacon.

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.
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