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Ordo Missae of the 1962 Missale Romanum

How to Serve the Latin Mass

Correct Mass-Serving Made Easy

by Rev. H.E. Calnan, D.D.

  Correct Mass-Serving Made Easy

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BEFORE MASS

Arrive in the Sacristy ten minutes before time. Make sure that your hands are very clean. See that all the buttons of your cassock are fastened. If you prepare the wine and the water, first make sure that both cruets are perfectly clean and dry inside. See that the candles are lit. If the Priest wishes you to help him vest, he will show you how to do it. But be very quiet: and do not speak unless you must.


GOING TO THE ALTAR.

When the Priest is ready, take the Missal (unless it is already on the Altar) with both hands at the bottom edge, with the opening to your left, and the top edge leaning against your chest. Bow to the Sacristy-Crucifix when the Priest does so: and then walk a yard or two in front of the Priest to the Altar. If there is Holy Water at the Sacristy door, take some on the finger-tips of your right hand, and offer it to the Priest; then bless yourself, and walk on.


AT THE ALTAR

Wait at the foot of the steps in front of the Epistle-side (this is the right-hand side of the Altar as you look at it) till the Priest comes level on your left. Take the weight of the Missal on your left arm and hand, and receive the Priest's biretta into your right hand. Genuflect when the Priest genuflects or bows here. Put the biretta on the seat, or somewhere tidily at the side. (If you leave it on the Altar steps it will probably be in the way, and will certainly look untidy.) Then go up and put the Missal on the stand, so that the opening is towards the middle of the altar. Do not open the Missal. Turn right, go down the side steps, turn by your left, and walk round the corner of the steps to the right, genuflect in the middle, and go on and kneel on the floor at the foot of the front steps on the Gospel side. (This is the left-hand side of the Altar as you look at it.) So the Priest will be on your right, when he comes down the steps to begin Mass.


THE MASS BEGINS

Make the sign of the Cross with the Priest. Your answers are here in big black print. Say every bit of every word. A good way to do this is to look for the vowels (a,e,i,o and u) and make up your mind to pronounce every one that you see: the other letters will soon come right. The small diagonal line ('accent') over a syllable means that you have to pronounce that syllable (or that vowel) more strongly than any other syllable in that word: for instance Dóminus, Confíteor, laetíficat, juventútem. (There are some more hints at the end of this book) Do not hesitate; and do not hurry. It is not clever to say the answers at express speed: it is simply silly, and often irreverent, too, because if bits of words are left out, the meaning of the answers will be changed or destroyed; and these answers mean something very important. So do not hurry: the Priest will be glad to wait for you, if he sees that you are being careful.

In nómine Patris, et Fílii, + et Spíritus Sancti. Amen. Introíbo ad altáre Dei.
Ad Deum qui laetíficat juventútem meam.

(When the Priest wears black vestments, or during Passiontide just before Easter, he will go straight from here to "Adjutórium + nostrum in nómine Dómini").

Júdica me, Deus, et discérne causam meam de gente non sancta: ab hómine iníquo et dolóso érue me.
Quia tu es, Deus, fortitúdo mea: quare me repulísti, et quare tristis incédo dum afflígit me inimícus?

Emítte lucem tuam, et veritátem tuam: ipsa me deduxérunt, et adduxérunt in montem sanctum tuum et in tabernácula tua.
Et introíbo ad altáre Dei: ad Deum qui laetíficat juventútem meam.

Confitébor tibi in cíthara, Deus, Deus meus: quare tristis es ánima mea, et quare contúrbas me?
Spera in Deo, quóniam adhuc confitébor illi: salutáre vultus mei et Deus meus.

Glória Patri, et Fílio, et Spirítui Sancto.
Sicut erat in princípio, et nunc, et semper, et in saécula saeculórum. Amen.

Introíbo ad altáre Dei.
Ad Deum qui laetíficat juventútem meam.

Adjutórium + nostrum in nómine Dómini.
Qui fecit caelum et terram.

Confíteor Deo ... etc. (The Priest is now saying the 'I confess.' You will say it after your next answer. The Priest ends with the words:-
"orare pro me ad Dóminum Deum nostrum."

(Bow a little towards the Priest while you say:)

Misereátur tui, omnípotens Deus, et, dimíssis peccátis tuis, perdúcat te ad vitam aetérnam.
Amen.

(Bow towards the Altar while you say:)

Confíteor Deo omnipoténti, beátae Maríae semper Vírgini, beáto Michaélo Archángelo, beáto Joánni Baptístae, sanctis Apóstolis Petro et Paulo, ómnibus Sanctis, (turn slightly towards Priest) et tibi, Pater, quia peccávi nimis cogitatióne, verbo et ópere: ("through my fault"; strike your breast each time.) mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa. Ideo precor beátam Maríam semper Vírginem, beátum Michaélem Archángelum, beátum Joánnem Baptístam, sanctos Apóstolos Petrum et Paulum, omnes Sanctos, (turn slightly towards Priest) et te, pater, oráre pro me ad Dóminum Deum nostrum. (Remain bowing).

Misereátur vestri omnípotens Deus, et, dimíssis peccátis vestris, perdúcat vos ad vitam aetérnam.
Amen (Kneel up straight and make + with Priest).

Indulgéntiam, absolutiónem et remissiónem peccatórum nostrórum tríbuat nobis omnípotens et miséricors Dóminus.
Amen. (Bow slightly forward).

Deus, tu convérsus vivificábis nos.
Et plebs tua laetábitur in te.

Ostende nobis, Dómine, misericórdiam tuam.
Et salutáre tuum da nobis.

Dómine, exáudi oratiónem meam.
Et clamor meus ad te véniat.

Dóminus vobíscum.
Et cum spíritu tuo.

Orémus. (No reply)

As soon as he as said "Oremus" the Priest will go up to the Altar. At once, stand, move a pace to the left, and kneel on the step. (But if that is the level on which the Priest is standing, kneel on the floor.)

The Priest goes to the Missal and says the Introit. Your next answer is when he comes to the middle, and says :-

Kýrie eléison.
Kýrie eléison.(Kée-ree-ay ay-láy-ee-son)
Kýrie eléison.

Christe eléison.
Christe eléison.
Christe eléison.

Kýrie eléison.
Kýrie eléison.
Kyrie eléison. (No reply.) Notice how your answers go there: Once "Kyrie", twice "Christe", and once "Kyrie".

Very often, but not at every Mass, the Priest next says the "Gloria in excelsis" Do not say "Amen" at the end; your next answer will be when the Priest turns round and says:

Dóminus vobiscum.
Et cum spíritu tuo.

Now the Priest goes to the Missal again to say the Collect. Watch and listen. He is praying for you and for all of us. You will see him bow and then he will end a Collect by saying :-

...Per ómnia saécula saeculórum.
Amen. (This may occur twice just here)

Now the Priest reads the Epistle. Watch him. At the end he will give you a sign, by laying his left hand down on the altar. At once say:-

Deo Grátias.
  • (NOTE. In Advent and Lent, and on some Ember Days, if the Priest is wearing purple vestments, be prepared to see him go straight to the Missal directly after the "Kyrie eleison", and before the "Dominus Vobiscum" to say several Collects and Lessons. In that case, whenever you hear "Per omnia saécula saeculórum," at once answer "Amen"; and whenever the Priest signs to you at the end of a Lesson, answer "Deo gratias". BUT NEVER GO TO MOVE THE MISSAL UNLESS THE PRIEST HAS ALREADY SAID "DOMINUS VOBISCUM" SINCE SAYING THE "KYRIE ELEISON". You will find this a very useful rule).

Having said "Deo Gratias", rise, genuflect at the middle, and walk round the corner of the the steps on the Epistle-side, and stand on the lowest step on the right of the Priest, but slightly behind him. When he leaves the Missal, take it with its stand, turn left, go obliquely down the steps to the middle, genuflect, and go obliquely up the steps, and place the Missal with its stand on the Gospel-side of the Altar near the end, and turned slightly inwards towards the middle of the Altar. Turn left; go down one step at the side; turn right about to face the Missal, and wait there to answer the Priest at:-

Dóminus vobíscum.
Et cum spíritu tuo.

Sequéntia sancti Evangélii secúndum (Matthaeum)
Glória tibi, Dómine.

Sign yourself on forehead, lips and heart (with the front of your right thumb; hand open), when the Priest does so. The wait a moment: you will probably hear the Holy Name, Jesus; at that, bow your head. Then turn right, descend, and walk left round to the Epistle side (genuflecting in the middle), halt at the front of the steps, just before you reach the corner; then turn left and stand facing the Missal while the Priest is reading the Gospel. When he finishes, be ready to say at once:-

Laus tibi, Christe. Then kneel, upright. (If a sermon is to be given, stay standing until Priest comes to foot of the altar, genuflect with him, and be seated for the sermon.)

On Sundays and some feastdays, the Priest will now say the Credo. Remain kneeling, but bow your head while the Priest genuflects at the words "Et incarnatus est," etc. (In England there is a custom that servers stand during the Credo. It is not exactly wrong.)

Then, whether he has said the Credo or not, the priest will turn round and say:-

Dóminus vobíscum.
Et cum spíritu tuo.

OFFERTORY AND LAVABO

Now rise and go directly to the credence-table. Take the wine in your right hand and the water in your left. Go to the Epistle end of the Altar and wait for the Priest to come. You should be standing on the first step downwards, with the side edge of the Altar directly in front of your chest, (but not touching).

When the Priest comes with the Chalice to the end of the Altar, take the wine-cruet which is in your right hand and present it to the Priet, with the handle (if there is one) towards him. At once, transfer the water cruet to your right hand. Receive the wine from the Priest with your left hand and present the water with your right; receive it back with the same hand. (Note: It is correct, here, to kiss the cruets when presenting them to the Priest, and when receiving them back.)

Bow to the Priest, then return to the credence-table with the cruets. Leave them down, and pick up the lavabo towel, laying it over the left wrist. Take up the dish or bowl in the left hand and the water cruet in the right hand, and return to the Altar. This time you should not be at the side of the Altar, but a pace or so to the left so that the Priest will be exactly in front of you when he comes. The Priest will hold his fingers over the dish. Pour water gently upon them, catching it in the dish underneath. The Priest will take the towel from your wrist, dry his fingers, and return the towel to you. Bow, and return to the credence-table where you lay down everything and make it tidy.

Return now to your place at the Epistle-side, taking the bell with you (if that is on the credence) without ringing it. Kneel.

Do all that smoothly, without wasting time, and without hurry. Very soon the Priest will turn round and say:- (in a low voice)

Oráte, fratres...

Wait till he turns back to the Altar, and then answer:-

Suscípiat Dóminus sacrifícium de mánibus tuis, ad laudem et glóriam nóminis sui, ad utilitátem quoque nostram, totiúsque Ecclésiae suae sanctae.

THE PREFACE

Soon, now, you will see the Priest turn over pages of the Missal to find the Preface. You will see him place his hands on the Altar and then he will say:-

...per ómnia saécula saeculórum.
Amen.

Dóminus vobíscum.
Et cum spíritu tuo.

Sursum corda.
Habémus ad Dóminum.

Grátias agámus Dómino Deo nostro. (Bow slightly)
Dignum et justum est.

Now the Priest says the Preface. At the end, he drops his voice, joins his hands, and says in a low tone "Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus" etc. When you see and hear that, give the bell three rings.

Watch the Priest now. He is supplying the worship which you owe to Almighty God and which you cannot pay without the Mass and the Priest. Your duty here is not to read a lot of the prayers for yourself, but to help actively in the great act of Public Worship now being done by our Divine Lord and His Church, through the Priest, with your help. You are now part of the work. And to keep your soul joined with it while you are waiting, you may keep on saying in your heart "Dear Lord Jesus, please help me to do my part perfectly."

Watch the Priest. You will see that his hands are separated, just in front of his shoulders. Presently he will join them, and bow his head for a moment: he is praying for special living persons, probably for you in particular. Watch him: he will separate his hands again, and pray to be helped by the prayers and merits of Our Lady, and the Apostles, and all the Martyrs and Saints. Then he will join his hands again: and when you see him stretch his arms forward, and hold his hands, palms downwards, over the Chalice, then - but not till then, - give the bell one ring.


THE CONSECRATION

Carry the bell - without ringing it - and go up and kneel slightly to the right of the Priest, but behind him.  Do not touch the chasuble (the coloured outer vestment) yet; and kneel very still. Now :-

  1. a. When the Priest genuflects, bow deeply, give the bell one ring, and kneel upright again.
    b. When the Priest raises ("elevates") the Sacred Host, lift the lower edge of the Chasuble a little with your left hand, look right up and greet Our Lord, ("My Lord and my God") give the bell one ring: and as the Priest lowers his hands, release the Chasuble.
    c. When the Priest genuflects again, again bow deeply, give the bell one ring, kneel upright again and remain quite still.
  2. Do just those same three things again, when the Priest
    a. Adores, b. Elevates, and c. Adores again the Precious Blood in the Chalice.

Then, very quietly, take the bell, rise, turn left, come down the steps, genuflect, turn right, and go and kneel where you were before the Consecration. PUT THE BELL DOWN QUIETLY.


AFTER THE CONSECRATION

Our Divine Lord, now, using the Priest as the link between Himself and you in His Church, is offering himself to God the Father, to pay our debts of honour and praise to God. He is also begging God the Father to grant to you and to all of us, graces and blessings which we cannot possibly get except through Him. He is placing again before God the Father the very Sacrifice which he offered on the Cross on Calvary: presenting it with all the members of His Church, and for them all. So the more closely those members are joined to the Mass, the more richly they share in its fruits. Just see where you are. You are actually helping to offer the Mass properly: you are joined to Our Lord in the Mass, more closely than anyone except the Priest. So your share in the fruits of the Mass may easily be richer than the share of anyone else, except the Priest. That is your great privilege here. So keep on thinking about that, and do not distract yourself from your sacred work here, by trying to say prayers of your own. Our Divine Lord is saying His prayers for you. Thank him by doing his work perfectly here.

Even if you are going to receive Holy Communion, you cannot prepare yourself better than by doing this work of serving Mass as perfectly, and carefully, and lovingly as you can. You are very close to Our Lord just now; you are working for Him and with Him; you are helping Him to do the greatest act of His life. He knows all about you, and what you are thinking. This work is the best possible preparation for the moment when He will give himself to you.

Watch the Priest, then, all the time, as much as you can and very reverently. Soon you will see and hear him remind himself and all of us that we are sinners, needing God's mercy; he will strike his breast, and say in a low voice, "Nobis quoque peccatoribus." Strike your breast, too, and remember that this Mass is the Sacrifice of Calvary, which was offered to save sinners; and that through Jesus, and with Him, and in Him, God the Father receives all honour and glory from us.


THE PATER NOSTER AND AGNUS DEI

Soon now you will see the Priest, after genuflecting, lay his hands on the Altar; and then he will say, in an ordinary voice:-

...per ómnia saécula saeculórum.
Amen.

Orémus.... The Priest recites the Pater Noster alone; follow it in your mind; you know it in English as the Our Father. It ends

...et ne nos indúcas in tentatiónem.
Sed líbera nos a malo.

Watch carefully. You will see the Priest divide the Sacred Host into three parts, and hold one part over the Chalice, while he says aloud:-

...per ómnia saécula saeculórum.
Amen.

Pax Dómini sit semper vobíscum.
Et cum spíritu tuo.

Then the Priest genuflects, and says the Agnus Dei. Watch and listen. He is saying it for you. Strike your breast three times when he does so. "Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world: have mercy on us. Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world: have mercy on us. Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world: grant us peace." - And if you notice that at the Agnus Dei the Priest is not holding the Sacred Host, whereas at the Domine non sum dignus he is holding It, you will not ring the bell by mistake.


THE PRIEST'S COMMUNION

The Priest remains slightly bowing, and says three very wonderful prayers to prepare himself, as the Priest of the Sacrifice, to be united with the Victim of the Sacrifice, by Holy Communion, and thus to make the Sacrifice complete. Having finished these prayers, he genuflects again and takes the Sacred Host into his hands. Watch carefully, and you will see him again strike his breast three times, but much more slowly this time, while he says thrice:-

Domine, non sum dignus... If you are not watching and listening carefully, you may perhaps not hear him say those words, because he has to say them in a low voice (though aloud). So watch to see him strike his breast while he is holding the Sacred Host; and give the bell one ring each time he does so. Soon you will be able to say it with him, and still serve perfectly: "Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof; but only say the word and my soul shall be healed." (Three times.)

Now bow your head a little and keep quite still while the Priest receives the Sacred Host. Wait till the Priest genuflects, then rise at once, take up the bell (do not ring it) and go straight (without genuflecting) to the credence-table. Put the bell down. Look to see whether anyone has approached the altar rails for Communion. If there are Communicants, take the communion plate. If you are receiving Communion yourself, go without genuflecting up to the top step of the altar at the front on the Epistle side and kneel down. Otherwise kneel on the lowest step at the Epistle side. When the Priest drinks from the chalice, bow and say:

Confiteor Deo omnipotenti, beatae Mariae semper Virgini, beato Michaeli Archangelo, beato Joanni Baptistae, sanctis Apostolis Petro et Paulo, omnibus Sanctis, et tibi, Pater: quia peccavi nimis cogitatione, verbo et opere: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Ideo precor beatam Mariam semper Virginem, Beatum Michaelem Archangelum, beatum Joannem Baptistam, sanctos Apostolos Petrum et Paulum, omnes sanctos, et te, Pater, orare pro me ad Dominum Deum nostrum.

Misereatur vestri omnipotens Deus, et dimissis peccatis vestris, perducat vos ad vitam aeternam.
Amen.

Now kneel upright

Indulgentiam, absolutionem, et remissionem peccatorum nostrorum tribuat nobis omnipotens et misericors Dominus. (Bless yourself)
Amen.

The Priest will turn, holding up a small Host, and will say:-

Ecce Agnus Dei, ecce qui tollit peccáta mundi.

He will then add the following prayer aloud three times. Strike your breast each time. In some churches it is customary for all to join in aloud with the Priest.

Dómine, non sum dignus, ut intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo et sanábitur ánima mea.

Receive our Blessed Lord reverently, holding the communion patten (plate) under your chin.  Then rise immediately and accompany the Priest to the first Communicant on the Epistle-side end of the rails. (Or, if there are no rails, wherever the communicants are kneeling). Precede the Priest along the line of communicants, holding the plate under each chin. Should a Host drop onto the plate, do not panic: this is what the plate is there for. Simply let the Priest remove the Host, and then continue along the line; the Priest will remove any fragments later, but you must be very careful not to let any fall to the ground.

After the last communicant has received, accompany the Priest back to the Altar. He may take the patten from you. If he does not, lay it on the Altar near the middle, where the Priest can see it. Then go immediately to your place and kneel.  When the Priest closes the tabernacle, rise and go to the credence table, and take the wine cruet in your right hand and the water in your left. Go quietly up to the Priest at the middle of the Altar (not too close). When he holds the Chalice towards you, pour wine (only) into it very gently till he tells you to stop. (The correct amount, here, is just about the same as the Priest poured in to be consecrated. But the Priest will judge it.) Go to the Epistle end of the Altar, and when the Priest comes to you, first pour wine very gently over his fingers into the Chalice, till he tells you to stop. (It will be very little.) Then pour water gently in the same way.

(All of this should be done over the "Table" of the Altar. The Priest should not have to hold the Chalice directly above the floor. He may do this only when the server is very small. So be careful to stand in the right place, here, with the side-edge of the Altar directly in front of you. And if you are careful, on this occasion, to hold the cruet in your right hand, with your thumb near the base and directly under the lip of the cruet, and just the the tops of two or three other fingers directly opposite your thumb, you will easily avoid the awkwardness of so many servers, who have to move their elbows, and their shoulders, and their whole body sideways in order to pour a little liquid from a small cruet.)

When the Priest returns to the middle, take the cruets back to the Credence-table, also the Communion patten, if there have been communicants, and leave all tidy.

Now you have to move the Missal. Walk right round to the middle, genuflect, continue right round the corner of the steps, and go up the side steps of the Gospel-side. Lift the Missal and its stand well clear of the Altar (and of the Priest), turn right, go obliquely down to the floor, genuflect in the middle, and go obliquely up to the Epistle-end of the Altar, and place the Missal and its stand where they were at the beginning of the Mass. Remember that on this side the Missal always faces squarely to the front. Turn right, go down the side steps, turn by your left and walk round the steps to the right, genuflect in the middle, and go and kneel on the lowest step on the Gospel-side where you were at the beginning of Mass.


AFTER THE COMMUNION.

The Priest will cover the Chalice, and go to the Missal to read the Post-Communion. Then he comes to the middle, turns round and says:-

Dóminus vobíscum.
Et cum spíritu tuo.

He then goes to the Missal again and reads certain prayers like those which he read before the Epistle. They end:-

...per ómnia saécula saeculórum.
Amen.

And that may occur twice here also. Then the Priest comes to the middle, turns to the people and says:-

Dóminus vobíscum.
Et cum spíritu tuo.

Ite,missa est.
Deo grátias.

(If it is a Requiem Mass, the Priest says,not Ite, Missa est, but:- Requiescant in pace. And your answer then is:- Amen. And no blessing will follow.)

Benedícat vos omnípotens Deus, Pater, + et Fílius, et Spíritus Sanctus.
Amen.


Remain kneeling until the Priest comes in front of you to begin the Last Gospel from the Altar-card. Then stand.

Dóminus vobíscum.
Et cum spíritu tuo.

Inítium sancti Evangélii secúndum Joánnem.
Glória tibi,Dómine.

Turn right, genuflect in the middle, and go and stand where and as you stood for the first Gospel. Genuflect when the Priest does so; and it ends:-

...plenum grátiae et veritátis.
Deo grátias.

The Priest will now come down and kneel in the middle of the bottom step to say the Prayers after Mass. If there is a card, have it to hand, and kneel on his right.

When the Priest goes up to get the Chalice, after saying the Prayers, get the biretta. Meet the Priest at the foot of the steps. (You are on his right). Genuflect when the Priest genuflects or bows; then hand him his biretta.

Turn and walk quietly in front of the Priest to the Sacristy. Put yourself on the Priest's left and bow to the Crucifix with him. Turn then to the Priest and bow to him. Then return to the Altar to clear away. Extinguish the candles (use a snuffer, do not blow them out) and bring everything in to the Sacristy that needs to be brought in.  It may also be your duty to clean and dry the cruets and finger-bowl. When all is finished, you can go and take off your own cassock and surplus and leave everything tidy.

You have not quite finished your work yet. If you have received Holy Communion, you have still your Thanksgiving to make. And even if you have not received Holy Communion, you have still to thank Our Lord for allowing you to serve this Mass. Thank Him simply and carefully. Ask Him to make you understand better and better, what a wonderful favour he has given to you: ask Him to help you to serve more perfectly every time; ask Him to make you remember it all day long. Then say a Hail Mary, and ask our Blessed Lady to take care of you, so that she will always be proud and happy to see you waiting on Her Divine Son at the Altar.

N.B. This edition of How to Serve the Latin Mass (5th Edition by Widdowson's 1948), because it was published prior to 1962, may not entirely agree with the rubrics of the 1962 Missale  Romanum.

Ordo Missae - Order of Mass - 1962 Roman Missal

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