For The Restoration Of The Church And The Triumph Of The Immaculate Heart
One of the server books I like is available from Veritas Press and is the second edition of Handbook for Altar Servers. All quotes in this post are taking from that book. During the actual instructions for serving Mass, there willl be times the altar boy is instructed to bow. Here is information about the three bows. I will, of course, indicate which bow the server is to do at that point of the Mass.
Bow #1 “is a reverent inclination of the head.
Bow #2 “is an inclination of the head and shoulders, or upper part of the body.”
Bow #3 “includes a more noticeable bending of the whole body, so low that one could almost touch his knees with his finger tips.”
The other point I wanted to make in this short post is this other quote. The point that should be especially remembered is bolded. It ties in nicely with the Directive to Altar Boys in my initial post in this discussion.
“When the priest begins the Mass at the book, the server makes the sign of the cross if the priest does. During the whole Mass, whenever the priest bows at the words “Gloria Patri,” “Oremus,” “Jesum Christum,” and several times during the Gloria and Credo, the server should likewise bow (Bow No. 1). At the end of the Gloria and Credo the server signs himself with the priest. In short, the server conforms his actions with those of the priest when the latter recites anything in a loud tone, excepting the celebrant’s Confiteor, Nobis quoque peccatoribus and Domine, non sum dignus. The server is expected to keep himself closely united, both in ceremony and devotion, with the priest who is offering the Holy Sacrifice with the server’s assistance.”
In the next post, I will talk about the sacristy, arriving for Mass, vesting, and setting up for the holy sacriice. Then instructions for actuallly serving a low Mass by yourself will begin. After the entire Mass is complete, I will go back and talk about how duties are divided if there are two servers. Once that is complete, we can talk about Missa Cantata, thurifers, torch bearers, etc.
When you arrive at the Church on a day you are to serve, you will report to the sacristy to vest and start your duties. The sacristy is where the vestments, sacred vessels, and other religious treasures are kept. There may be two. One for the altar boys and one for the clergy. At my location there is a small room and a larger one. In the small one is kept the cruets, water, wine, hosts, thurible, incense, holy water. The other room contains everything else. The servers vest on one side and the clergy on the opposite.
There are prayers that Father says while he vests. It is good for the altar boy to pray too. Here are the ones Mr. Rioux and I provide for the servers at our chaplaincy Masses:
Altar Boy Vesting Prayers
Prayer when vesting with the Cassock:
Dominus, pars hereditatis meae et calicis mei, tu es qui restitues hereditatem meam.
O Lord, the portion of my inheritance and my chalice, You are He who will restore my inheritance.
Prayer when vesting with the Surplice:
Inndue me, Domine, novum hominem, qui secundum Deum creatus est in iustitia et sanctitate veritatis. Amen.
Invest me, O Lord, as a new man, who was created by God in justice and the holiness of truth. Amen.
It is now time to set up for Mass. There may be a sacristan who does a lot of it, but the altar boys should still know what to do in case he asks for help, isn't available that day, etc. Our chaplain takes care of his vestments, but check with your priest. He may want to show you how to set them up so they are ready for him. Also we occasionally have had a priest who needed help with his maniple.
As you face the altar, the epistle side is on your right and the gospel side on your left. You may have already noticed that during Mass Father reads the epistle on the right side and then, after the gradual, the altar boy transfers the missal to the other side for the Gospel.
On the credence table you will put the paten, a cruet of wine and one of water, a finger towel and dish for the lavabo. At some locations the bell is also put there instead of on the 2nd altar step on the epistle side.
At our Mass the bell is put on top of a book which is on the middle (2nd) altar step. That book contains the Asperges, Leonine prayers, and other prayers Father might need depending on the type of Mass being said. Many locations will require you to memorize the Latin responses before serving. On the same step we also have a "cheat sheet" with the responses just in case. The requirement is that even if you haven't memorized them, you are at least comfortable with reading them from the sheet.
Three altar cloths are put on the altar. The first two are shorter and are approximately the size of the altar. The third hangs to the floor. There are three altar cards. On the Gospel side is the one with the Last Gospel. The one on the epistle side contains the prayer the priest says to bless the cruet of water -"Deus qui humanae substantiae"- and the Lavabo psalm. All other prayers are on the large one in front of the tabernacle.
There are veils for the taberancle. Use the same color as the color of the vestments Father will be wearing for that Mass. But during a funeral Mass Father wears black vestments, and the tabernacle has purple veils.
Our altar has six candles, three on each side of the tabernacle. For a low Mass, light two. First the one nearest the tabernacle on the epistle side, then the one nearest the tabernacle on the gospel side. We usually have a Missa Cantata and either four or six candles are lit. Our chaplain has us lite all six. Start at the epistle side and light the one nearest the tabernacle, and then the other two on that side. Go to the gospel side. Lite the one nearest the tabernacle and then the other two.
Now is the time to talk about the missal. It may be the local custom in your church/chapel for the server to carry it in during the procession. If not, you will put it on the altar before Mass begins. It goes on the epistle side in front of the altar card with the Lavabo.
During most of the Mass you will have your hands in the prayer position. Unless you are carrying the missal, your hands will be in that position as you precede the priest to the sanctuary. You and the priest will bow to a large crucifix in the sacritsy before leaving that room. Near the door of the sacristy there is often a bell for you to ring to let the congregation know that Mass is about to start.
If Father is wearing a biretta, go to the epistle side of the altar. Father will hand you the biretta before you both genuflect. As he takes the chalice to the altar, place the biretta on his seat/bench. Then, unless local custom dictates differently, go to the center of the altar, genuflect to the tabernacle, and go to the gospel side. As a general rule, you will always be on the side opposite the missal during Mass. If Father doesn't have a biretta, go to the gospel side, genuflect with him, and wait for him to come back from the altar. Father will take the chalice to the altar, and go to the missal to open it to the appropriate page for that day's Mass.
When he has returned to the foot of the altar, you will kneel while he genuflects. Make the sign of the cross with him as he says, "In Nomine Patris, et Filii, † et Spiritus Sancti. Amen." Your first response is
Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam.
Ahd Day’oom kwee lay-tee’fee-cot you-ven-too’tem may’ahm
Now the priest starts Psalm 42. Your next response is:
Quia tu es Deus fortitudo mea;
Kwee’ah too ez Day’oose for-tee-too’doe may’ah
quare me repulisti? Et quare tristis
kway-ray may ree-poo-lees’tee Ett kwah’ray triss’tiss
incedo, dum affligit me inimicus?
in-chay’doe doom ah-flee’jit may in-ee-mee’coose?
The next response is:
Et introibo ad Altare Dei: ad Deum
Ett int-tro-ee’boe odd Ahl-tah’ray Day’ee odd Day’oom
qui laetificat juventutem meam.
kwee lay-tee’fee-cot you-ven-too’tem may’ahm.
Spera in Deo, quoniam adhuc confitebor
Spay’rah in Day’oh kwoe’nee-ahm ahd’hook con-fee-tay’bor
illi: salutare vultus mei, et Deus meus.
ill’lee sah-loo-tah’ray vul’toose may’ee ett Day’oose may’oose.
Bow your head - bow #1- with the priest as he says, " Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto." Immediately kneel erect and reply:
Sicut erat in principio et nunc, et semper,
See’coot err’rot in prin-chee’pee-oh ett noonk, ett sem’pair
et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.
ett in say’coo-lah say-coo-loh’room. Ah-men’.
Your next response will be the final:
Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam.
Ahd Day’oom kwee lay-tee’fee-cot you-ven-too’tem may’ahm
Make the sign of the cross with Father as he says, "Adjutorium nostrum † in nomine Domini."
Your response is:
Qui fecit coelum et terram.
Kwee fay’chit chay’loom ett ter’rahm.
During requien Masses and Passiontide, the psalm is omitted. After you say the first Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam.
Ahd Day’oom kwee lay-tee’fee-cot you-ven-too’tem may’ahm, you will immediately make the sign of the cross as the priest says, "Adjutorium nostrum † in nomine Domini."
We are now at the Confiteor. Listen as Father prays his, and, when he concludes with ad Domnium Deum nostrum, do a #2 bow, turn slightly towards him, and say:
Misereatur tui omnipotens Deus,
Mee-zay-ray-ah’toor too’ee om-ne’poe-tenz Day’oose,
et dimissis peccatis tuis,
ett dee-mee’seese pay-kah’teese too’eese,
perducat te ad vitam aeternam.
per-doo’cot tay ahd vee’tahm ay-tair’nahm.
Father willl say Amen.
Now, keep the #2 bow position, but turn towards the altar and say:
Confiteor Deo Omnipotenti, beatae Mariae
Con-fee’tay-or Day’oh Om-nee-po-ten’tee, bay-ah’tay Mah-ree’ay
semper Virgini, beato Michaeli Archangelo,
sem’pair Veer’jee-nee, bay-ah’toe Mee-kah-ay’lee Ark-ahn’jay-lo,
beato Joanni Baptistae, sanctis Apostolis
bay-ah’toe Yo-ahn’nee Bahp-tee’stay, sahnk’teese Ah-po’sto-leese
Petro et Paulo, omnibus Sanctis,
Pay’tro ett Pow’lo, om’nee-boose Sahnk’teese,
Turn towards Father and say:
et tibi, Pater,
ett tee’bee, Pah’tair,
Turning again towards the altar, say:
quia peccavi nimis cogitatione, verbo,
kwee’ah pay-kah’vee nee’meese coe-jee-tot-see-oh’nay, vair’bo,
Strike your breast 3 times while saying:
mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
may’ah cool’pa, may’ah cool’pa, may’ah mock’see-ma cool’pa.
Ideo precor beatam Mariam semper Virginem,
ee’day-oh pray’cor bay-ah’tahm Mah-ree’ahm sem’pair Veer’jee-nem,
beatum Michaelem Archangelum, beatum
bay-ah’toom Mee-kah-ay’lem Ark-ahn’jay-loom, bay-ah’toom
Joannem Baptistam, sanctos Apostolos Petrum
Jo-ahn’nem Bahp-tee’stahm, sahnk’tose Ah-po’sto-loese Pay’troom
et Paulum, omnes Sanctos,
ett Pow’loom, om’nays Sahnk’tose
Turn again towards Father as you say:
et te, Pater,
ett tay, Pah’tair,
Turn back towards the altar and say:
orare pro me ad Dominum Deum nostrum.
oh-rah’ray pro may odd Doe’mee-noom Day’oom nos’troom.
Remain bowed as the priest prays the Misereatur vestri. As you say the Amen, kneel erect. Make the sign of the cross with Father as he prays the Indulgentium and answer Amen at the end.
Now Father may moderately bow his head. Be sure to bow your head too if he does. You will now have four short responses to 4 short prayers by the priest. They are:
Et plebs tua laetabitur in te.
Ett playbs too’ah lay-tah’bee-toor in tay.
Et salutare tuum da nobis.
Ett sah-loo-tah’ray too’oom dah no’beese.
Et clamor meus ad te veniat.
Ett clah’more may’oose odd tay vay’nee-ott.
Et cum spiritu tuo.
Ett coom spee’ree-too too’oh.
Now it is time for the priest to ascend to the altar. He may want you to slightly lift the front of his alb as he starts up the stairs. During the prayers at the foot of the altar you have been kneeling on the floor. It is now time to kneel on the first step near the edge of the Gospel side. If, due to local custom, you have been kneeling on the Epistle side during the prayers at the foot of the altar, be sure to genuflect in the middle - in front of the tabernacle - on your way to your place.
After kissing the altar, the priest will go to the missal to read the Introit. Make the sign of the cross with him as he begins to pray it. He will then go to the middle of the altar for the Kyrie. Your first response is
For your next two responses you say :
Your last repsonse is another Kyrie Eleison.
If it is appointed to be said that day, the Gloria comes next. Watch the priest and do the #1 bows with him and the sign of the cross near the end. This is followed by the next Dominus vobiscum and your usual response :
Et cum spiritu tuo.
Ett coom spee’ree-too too’oh.
Father will now return to the missal and read the Collect. At the end you will hear per omnia saecula saeculorum and respond Amen. On a few occasions, there may be more then one collect. If that is the case, Father will say oremeus again. Listen for the next per omnia saecula saeculorum and then say Amen.
After the Collect(s) comes the Epistle. At the end, his hand will touch the altar. That is your cue to respond
Deo Gratias. Day’oh grahd’see-ahs
Now rise and walk around to the misssal, genuflecting when passing by the tabernacle in the center of the altar. As you wait for Father to finish reading the Gradual, follow local custom. You may be facing him or in the same direction as him. At our location, the server waits either on the floor or the first step. As you ascend the stairs you want your right foot on the first step, your left foot on the next, etc. so your right foot goes first on the top step which you might hear called the predellaor altar platform or the footpace. After picking up the missal, turn left, and bow (#1) to the priest. Decend the stairs to the center of the floor, and genuflect. Ascend immediately to the Gospel side and place the missal on the altar, turning it slightly inwards towards the middle of the altar. Turn left and go down one step at the side. Turn to face the missal. After praying the Munda cor meum, Father will come to the missal and do the
Dominus vobiscum. Et cum spiritu tuo with you. Trace the sign of the cross on your forehead, lips, and breast when he does and then say :
Gloria tibi, Domine.
Gloh’ree-ah tee’bee, Doe’mee-nay.
Wait a moment or two and you will probably hear our Lord's Holy Name Jesus. Bow your head, turn right, and descend the stairs. Go to your place on the Epistle side, genuflecting to the tabernacle in the middle, and turn towards the priest. At the end of the Gospel, say
Laus tibi, Christe.
Louse tee’bee, Kree’stay.
If there is to be a sermon, you willl genuflect with the priest and go to your seat. Otherwise, kneel immediately after saying Laus tibi, Christe. If the Creed is said, bow your head when the priest does and do a moderate bow when he genuflects at the words : Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine et homo factus est. Make the sign of the cross witth him at the end of the Creed.
Thank you for taking the time to do this Tim. It is a great guide for learning to serve !
We are now ready for the Offertory. In some locations, the priest will want to give you the chalice veil. If so, be sure to follow his instructions.
After the Creed is the next Dominus vobiscum, and your Et cum spiritu tuo. Some places have the local custon of the bell being rung once as Father takes the veil off the chalice.
You will now go to the credence table to get the water and wine cruets, and, on the Epistle side, ascend the stairs. The wine cruet is in your right hand, the water in your left. As Father will be pouring, make sure the handels are facing him. At some churches each cruet is kissed by the server before presenting it to Father, and after receiving it back. And, if you are holding only one cruet in your right hand, place your left hand on your breast.
After Father accepts the wine cruet, transfer the water cruet to your right hand. You will receive the cruet back in your left hand. After Father accepts the water cruet, transfer the wine cruet back to your right hand. Receive the water cruet back in your left hand. You and the priest will bow to each other. Turn right, descend the stairs, and return to the credence table. Hang the towel over your left hand. The bowl should be in your left hand, the water cruet in your right. Ascend the stairs again on the Epistle side. Bow moderately to Father as he comes towards you. Pour some water over his thumbs and index fingers into the bowl. He will take the towel, dry his hands, and return it to you. Bow, turn right, descend the stairs and return the items to the credence table. If the bell is on the table, take it with you as you go to kneel on the Epistle side.
After praying a few prayers, Father will turn to the congregation and say, Orate, frates... As he finishes, he will turn back to the altar. Your reponse, be aware in some locations it is the custom for the server to bow here, is :
Suscipiat Dominus sacrificium de
Soo-she’pee-aht Doe’mee-noose sah-cree-fee’chee-oom day
manibus tuis, ad laudem et gloriam
mah’nee-boose too’eese, odd lou-dem ett gloh’ree-ahm
nominis sui, ad utilitatem quoque
noe’mee-neese soo’ee, odd oo-tee-lee-tah’tem kwo’kway
nostram, totiusque Ecclesiae suae sanctae.
no’strahm, tote-see-oos’kway Ay-clay’zee-ay soo’ay sahnk’tay.
Wow, I had no idea the servers had so much to memorize. Any who are reading here, thank you for your commitment. Thanks, Tim.