pontifical ceremonies assume the use of an MC2 to coordinate the
sacred (other than C) and inferior ministers. It is customary in
England to employ an MC2 at Solemn High Mass, so Fortescue describes
MC2’s duties for the various seasonal ceremonies. The same can be done
with minor adaptation for High Mass to aid MC1 with the more complex
ceremonies or to add solemnity to a festive occasion .
The method laid out below is the adaptation of MC2’s duties
Solemn High Mass (in turn adapted from his duties during a Pontifical
High Mass) for a Missa Cantata.
- MC2 is usually on the left, while MC1 is on the
- MC2 has general charge of the servers, while MC1
conducts C. For this reason, MC2  must have a perfect knowledge
of the other server’s duties in addition to his own.
MC2’s main duty is to coordinate the servers and ensure that they
carry out their various duties correctly. In certain cases, MC2 may
also have to coordinate or prompt the clergy who are in choir. In both
cases this must be done discretely without causing distraction.
MC2 assumes one of the duties that the assistant priest would perform
at a Solemn High Mass ; namely, moving the missal
during each incensation of the altar.
- MC2 also
has charge of the various processions that take place during Mass,
times that the Tbs are led in and out of the sanctuary
- If Th is carrying the thurible with blessed
incense: MC2 follows behind Th at a distance of four pews.
Th is not carrying the thurible : MC2 processes at the head of the
ministers with Th behind him (or if there is no Boatbearer, Th may be
on MC2’s left).
- Upon reaching the foot, MC2 genuflects, goes to the
Gospel-side of the foot and faces across the sanctuary awaiting the
arrival of C.
- When MC1 arrives at the foot, he also turns to face across
sanctuary, and when C arrives at the foot, MC2 genuflects again upon
IF THERE IS AN ASPERGES
- MC2 remains at his normal position  (Gospel-corner of the foot),
and leads the bow (towards the altar) for the Gloria Patri.
- After the Asperges is finished, MC2
turns inwards with MC1
and then shoulder-to-shoulder with MC1 leads C to the sedilia, where
MC2 takes his place on the left-hand side of C while he vests.
- When C has finished vesting, MC2
shoulder-to-shoulder with MC1
leads C back to the foot, pairing off with MC1 to leave space for C.
There MC2 kneels on MC1’s signal for the Preparatory Prayers.
PREPARATORY PRAYERS AT THE FOOT OF ALTAR
- MC2 acts as Ac2 at Low Mass during the Preparatory
When finished assisting with C’s alb, MC2 meets MC1 at the center of
the foot, genuflects, turns inward and goes with MC1 shoulder to shoulder to
the Epistle-side to remove the missal for the First
FIRST INCENSATION OF THE
- MC2 removes the missal at the
appropriate moment  in conjunction with the server
who retrieves the boat (either Ac2 or Bb).
NORMAL POSITION OF MC2
After returning the missal to the altar, MC2 goes to the
foot, genuflects in unison with the (last) genuflection made
by ministers still at the altar,
and goes to his normal position: the Gospel-corner of the foot
(opposite of MC1’s usual foot position). During Mass, MC2 leads the
turns and bows towards the altar for the servers.
DURING THE GLORIA
- Towards the end of the Gloria
said by C at the altar, after bowing for "Suscipe
deprecationem nostram," MC2 meets MC1 at the center of the
foot. MC2 remains there until the cross is signed during "cum
Sancto Spiritu," then he genuflects in unison with C and MC1,
turns inwards with MC1 and goes to the sedilia.
WHENEVER C SITS AT
THE SEDILIA (during the Gloria, Gradual, Credo, etc.)
C goes to sit at the sedilia, MC2 accompanies C and MC1 there .
- C, MC1 and MC2 genuflect, turn inward, and MC2
meets MC1 shoulder to shoulder, and then both lead C to the sedilia.
- Upon arriving at the sedilia, both allow
C to pass through to sit,
while simultaneously they assist him with his chasuble. Both then face
each other on either side of C (MC1 faces the nave, while MC2 faces the
rear sanctuary wall).
- Both bow to C and towards the tabernacle
as usual for those times prescribed.
- When C returns to the foot, MC2 again
goes shoulder to shoulder
with MC1, genuflects at the foot, and then returns to his normal position.
- when MC1 and Th ascend to have incense
imposed, MC2 gfs at the
foot, and goes to the credence and takes his position at the front
right-hand position of the box formation.
- when all is ready, MC2 conducts Th and
the Acolytes to the foot for the Gospel, leaving
room in the center for MC1.
- when MC1 descends with the missal, MC2
signals a gf, then all go to their Gospel
- during the Gospel
reading, MC2 performs all of the actions that would normally be
allotted to MC1.
- when the Gospel is
completed, MC2 moves the missal to the Canon
position, bows in unison with C to the altar cross ,
turns inwards, descends to the foot with C, turns inwards again and gfs
on MC1’s signal. Then all return to their normal positions.
DURING A SERMON
- If there is a Sermon,
MC2 takes his normal position at the sedilia. He should face across
the sanctuary though.
- MC2 removes the missal for the Offertory
incensation and then returns to his normal position, where he
is incensed with one double.
- Then MC2 meets Th and Cb at the Foot,
signals a genuflection, and goes to the chancel with Th and Cb.
- MC2 ensures that the Tbs line up
correctly, and when all is ready,
signals a genuflection, and then leads the Tbs out of the sanctuary with Th on
- MC2 leads the Tbs in with Th on his left
at the Sanctus, ensures they line up correctly,
signals all to genuflect, then the Tbs to kneel, and then returns to MC1’s
normal position at the foot on the Epistle-side . From there he ensures that
the servers perform their duties, intervening discretely if necessary.
HANC IGITUR TO THE CONSECRATION
- After the bell is rung for the Hanc
Igitur, MC2 imposes one
spoonful of incense into the thurible, and takes position on the first
altar step on the epistle side, with Th on his left.
- MC2 may perform the incensations during
the Elevations .
- After the Consecration, MC2 signals all to rise, and resumes his former Epistle-corner,
CONSUMPTION OF THE SACRED
MC2 turns and bows with MC1 towards the
altar center while C
consumes the Sacred Host, after which MC2 ensures that the servers line
up at the foot for Communion (while the Acolytes
turn over the Communion Cloth). MC2 then takes position to the far
right of the formation; these are the recta linea positions
MC1 Ac2 [Cb] Ac1 [Bb] Th MC2
- After receiving Holy Communion, MC2
signals all of the actions for descending in plano
from the predella and then resumes his normal position
and signals all to kneel (MC2 kneels on first altar step).
- MC2 meets Th and Cb at the foot, signals
a genuflection, and ensures that the
Tbs are lined up correctly and leads them in and out as before.
- Upon arriving back in the sanctuary, MC2
resumes his normal position.
THE LAST GOSPEL
- After signing himself, MC2 ensures that
the servers are lined up correctly for the Recessional.
- When this has been done, MC2 takes position in the formation
as he did for the Processional.
This is in fact the very reason
for the Missa Cantata
; when a Solemn High Mass
cannot be had, an adapted version of it (i.e.
the application of the ceremonies and positions to what otherwise would
be a Low Mass), may be executed in its stead.
 For those chapels that have the
Archconfraternity of St. Stephen, a certified MC must execute this
When sanctioned by the rubrics; e.g., for the first three Masses of a newly-ordained priest.
Either Th has his hands folded, or is accompanying C with MC1 for the
Asperges in holding the aspersory and holding the cope’s orphrey.
 Following the principle of cum
At a Solemn High Mass, MC2 accompanies MC1 (to MC1’s left) in leading
the sacred ministers down the nave, etc. Upon reaching the rear of the
nave, MC1 and MC2 step off to the sides of the main aisle, and facing
each other, allow the sacred ministers to pass, then close rank, face
the altar, genuflect on MC1’s signal and then lead the ministers back to the
sanctuary, returning to their normal positions.
 Cf. Acolytes at a Missa
 Should ever C and MC1 go per
breviorem ( e.g., for the Kyrie
or Gradual, etc.), MC2 genuflects at the
center of the foot alone, and meets them at the sedilia.
 After replacing the missal, MC1
goes per breviorem to his Epistle position at the
foot for the reading of the Gospel, facing the
 Following the principle of cum
Technically, this bow is not required by the general principles nor the
rubrics; nevertheless, many priests perform it so MC2 ought to as well
if C does.
While technically, MC2’s position is on the Gospel-side of the
sanctuary, it is often necessary for the coordination of the servers to
position MC2 in MC1’s normal position as MC1 is involved with assisting
C during the Canon.
 Or he may defer this to Th to
perform as usual.
2007. Louis J. Tofari. All rights reserved.