The Requiem Mass is very ancient in its origin, being the predecessor
of the current Roman Rite (i.e.
the so-called "Tridentine Rite") of Mass before the majority of the
of the Mass were introduced. Thus, many ancient features, in the form
of omissions from the normal customs of Low Mass, are observed 
- Interwoven into the beautiful and spiritually
Rite is the liturgical principle that all blessings are reserved for
the deceased soul(s) for whose repose the Mass is being celebrated.
This principle is put into action through the omission of these
- Holy water is not taken before processing
into the Sanctuary.
- The sign of the Cross is not made at the
beginning of the Introit .
- C does not kiss
the praeconium  of the Gospel
after reading it .
the Offertory , the water is not blessed before
being mixed with the wine in the chalice .
- The Last
Blessing is not given.
- All solita oscula that
servers usually perform are omitted, namely:
- When giving and receiving the biretta.
presenting and receiving the cruets at the Offertory.
absent from the Requiem Mass are all Gloria Patri's,
namely during the Introit and the Lavabo.
- The Preparatory
Prayers are said in an abbreviated form:
- The entirety of Psalm 42 (Judica me)
consequently the prayers begin with the sign of the Cross and
then Adjutorium nostrum… is immediately
- After this, the remainder of the Preparatory
Prayers are said as usual.
- The Sequence, Dies
irae, is said after the usual Gradual
in place of the Alleluia.
Due to the
length of this proper, the Acolytes must know the cue (which
is Qui Mariam absolvisti) at which to rise
after the reading of the Epistle or they will
rise too early to switch the missal.
- During the Agnus
Dei, the Acolytes do not strike their breasts, as the end of
the clause is changed to dona eis requiem.
- Ite, missa est
is replaced with Requiescant in pace to
which the servers’ response is: Amen.
If the Reception of the Casket
ceremony will be observed before the Requiem Mass, please refer to the Funeral
Ceremonies sheet for details.
SERVING A REQUIEM LOW MASS
The Acolytes serve a
Requiem Low Mass as they would serve a usual Low Mass with these
- Upon departing the Sacristy, the Acolytes do
take holy water if normally customary.
arriving at the Foot, Ac1 does not perform solita oscula
when taking the biretta.
PRAYERS AT THE FOOT
- During the Preparatory Prayers,
the Acolytes sign
themselves for the sign of the Cross, and then immediately again
for Adjutorium nostrum.
- C then says his Confiteor.
The Acolytes make their
normal responses to C, starting with the Misereatur.
DURING THE INTROIT
- The Acolytes do not make the sign of the Cross
at the beginning of the Introit, nor is there a Gloria
Patri at which to bow.
- After the Acolytes
say Deo gratias to the conclusion of the Epistle,
they do not stand immediately so Ac2 may retrieve the missal. Rather,
they wait until C has said the Gradual, then during
the Sequence, Dies irae, they
stand when C says, Qui Mariam absolvisti.
Ac2 then performs his actions alone as usual.
- During the remainder of the Dies irae,
Acolytes are standing, when C says the Holy Name, both turn towards the
Tabernacle and bow in unison with C.
DURING THE OFFERTORY
- The Acolytes perform the Offertory
actions as usual, except the cruets
are not kissed (and neither is the water blessed by C).
- While C says the Agnus Dei,
the Acolytes bow as
usual, but they do not strike their breasts since the clause is dona
eis requiem .
AT THE END OF MASS
- At the end of
Mass, where Ite, missa est would normally be
said, C will say instead, Requiescant in pace,
to which the Acolytes reply, Amen.
If the Absolution of the Casket
ceremony will be observed after the Requiem Mass, please refer to the Funeral
Ceremonies sheet for details.
That is, those rubrical importations from the Gallican Rite of France,
which in turn may have been originally derived from an earlier form of
the Byzantine Rite. Cf. Fortescue, A
Study of the Roman Rite.
 This is even more so with the Missa
Cantata or Solemn High Mass.
 C signs the missal with a large
Greek Cross instead of himself.
 That is, the title or
introduction of the Gospel, which is marked in the
missal with a red cross.
 An action which does not affect
the duties of the Acolytes.
Again, another action which does not affect the Acolytes. However, this
omission is highly symbolic: The water represents the Church Militant,
the blessing of it symbolizes the merits that the saints on earth can
gain. A deceased soul, however, can no longer gain any further merits
neither does he belong to the Church Militant; hence this omission.
That is, grant
him rest and not have mercy on us.
2007. Louis J. Tofari. All rights reserved.