Mass Server Terms - Back to Mass Server Page

St. Cecilia Church Mass Server Instructions

Being a Mass Server:
It is a privilege and responsibility to serve at the Lord's Table. Please pick up your schedule, note the dates you serve and mark them on your calendar.

if you are unable to serve on an assigned date, it is your responsibility to find a replacement. Phone other servers on the list. You may consider offering to take one of their scheduled times in exchange.

On your scheduleded day:
· arrive at the church 15 minutes before Mass is scheduled to start. If you arrive later, your team members wonder if you are coming.
· dress in a cassock that is neither too short or too long. The rope belt (cincture) is tied on your right side. Wear the appropriate colour cross; it should match the colour of Father's vestments. Ensure your hood looks good and isn't inside out.
· sign the server book in the sacristy.
· wait at the choir loft steps.
· determine who will carry the cross. Review your duties if necessary.
· when Father puts on his vestments, light the candles.

The Procession:
· the Cross always leads the procession, with the crucifix toward the altar. Wait until the opening hymn has started.
· Candle bearers carry the smaller set of candles first and follow the Cross. Your hand closest to the congregation should hold the candle firmly at the top of the handle, under the base where the candle rests. This puts the candle to the outside of your body, closest to the congregation. Your opposite hand should hold the handle closer to the bottom to keep it steady.
· stand straight; walk slowly; eyes to the front.
· the Proclaimer follows the acolytes, and carries the Lectionary (book).
· Father follows the Proclaimer.

Arriving at the Steps:
· as you arrive at the steps leading up to the sanctuary, line up with toes close to the steps:
The Cross bearer should line themself up with the right edge of the altar. The two candle bearers should be the "bookends" for the group, standing on each end. The Proclaimer stands between the left acolyte and Father. Therefore the order, from left to right is: Candle Bearer (left), Proclaimer, priest, Cross Bearer, Candle Bearer (right).
· once you are all lined up at the foot of the stairs, Father will bow. Father is the only person in the procession who should bow. Everyone else is carrying a holy object (candle, cross, or book) and should not bow.

Moving up the Steps:
· as you move up the steps, be aware of where you are going so you don't cut in front of anyone. The Cross bearer should go first and proceed toward the cross holder. The candle bearers can then go to the candleholders on each side the ambo. The left candle bearer should proceed up to the appropriate candle holder, allowing the Proclaimer to follow after, carrying the book to the pulpit.
· The Cross Bearer inserts the cross pole into the base holder, ensuring it is firmly in place, with the crucifix facing the congregation.
· If a candle has blown out during the procession, there should be matches or lighter on the Credence table. Re-light the candle while the opening hymn is being played.
· The Cross Bearer will stand at the chair (on the priest's right). Hold the red sacramentary book.
· The Candle Bearers should proceed to the chairs on either side of the Credence Table, keeping the positions they had during the procession (right acolyte at the chair closest to the altar). Remain standing for the opening prayers.

Father says the opening prayers. The new Roman Missal (red book), started being used at Advent 2011. It is a very heavy book, so it stays on a wooden stand for Father to read when he prays from his chair. The cross server will move it to the altar: on Saturday, when the gifts are coming up. On Sunday, it is moved after the cross bearer returns from leading the Childrens Liturgy kids back.
On Sunday, before the first reading, Father will call the children forward for a blessing and dismissal to Children's Liturgy. The cross person gets the cross and stands on the main level, behind the children, to lead them out of the church. When they go to the Hogan Room, the cross server sits on the steps by the server sign in book for the readings and homily.

· the first Proclaimer will come to the pulpit for the first reading.
· the second Proclaimer will come to the pulpit for the second reading.

The Gospel Reading:
· after these two readings is the Gospel reading by Father. When Father stands up, everyone stands up. The two Candle Bearers move to the candles at the ambo and remove the candles from their holders.
· Father John will pick up the book. One server leads him to the centre of the sanctuary, and the other server follows Father. Face each other and stand close to Father (as if he had to read from your light).
· the candle should be held in your outside hand -- the hand that is closest to the congregation should be the hand at the top of the candle, with the other hand for support at the bottom of the handle.
· both candles should be held at the same height. Check your partner and adjust if necessary.
· when the Gospel reading is over and Father kisses the book, return your candle to its holder. The server who was following is now leading. Fr. puts the book back at the ambo. Return to your chair and sit for the homily.

The homily is given by Father (everyone is seated).
Then everyone stands to say the Creed (including you). At the end of the Creed, the cross person goes to the Hogan Room to tell Children's Liturgy leader that the Creed is over.
Prayers of the Faithful is given by the second Proclaimer ("For this we pray to the Lord" and "Lord, hear our prayer"). *The two candle bearers do not sit after the prayers (as everyone else will), but move to the entrance area of the church by the centre aisle.

The Gifts (envelope offering, wine, water, and hosts)
· The music group will announce the hymn for the preparation of the offering gifts. The ushers go down the aisles with baskets. The candle servers get the second set of candles and line up for the second procession, which will include the wine, hosts and offering basket. Begin the procession when all are assembled and Fr. John looks ready to receive them. As you process up, Father will stand and go to receive the gifts. The candle bearers do not stop at the steps, but go to the candle holders at the altar. After they place them, return to Father to take the bread, wine and water to the altar.

· On Sunday, when the cross server returns after leading the children back into the church, he/she puts the cross back in it's holder near the altar. Then they take chalice and corporal (square white cloth) from the credence table and place it on the altar (unfold the corporal). Then get the Roman Missal (big red book) from the wooden stand to the altar and places it immediately to the left of the corporal (cloth) and close to the edge of the altar. Open the Sacramentary to the first section (usually red ribbon). Ensure the ribbon lies in the middle of the book and doesn't cover up any words.

· at the Sign of Peace, a candle acolyte goes to the Credence table and brings the silver tray with the silver chalice(s) and puts it on the altar. This acolyte then steps back and waits for Father to return.

The envelope collection basket does not come into the sanctuary; it always is given back to the usher who carried it up.

· when the gifts of water and wine and the two ciboria of hosts are given to Father, he will give the water and wine to one acolyte and the ciboria to the other. Whoever receives theirs first must wait until their partner has theirs. Then, you both go to the altar together, without waiting for Father.

· whoever has the ciboria places them on the altar, to the right of the corporal cloth.

· the acolyte carrying the water and wine will hand one of these to their partner. The person standing closest to the altar should be holding the wine decanter - remove the stopper and place it on the altar or hold it.

· when Father comes to do the Eucharist blessing, hand him the wine decanter when he turns to receive it.

· the acolyte with the water cruet should turn the handle toward Father so he can hold the handle when he reaches for it.

· when Father returns the water to the acolyte, the other acolyte will pick up the wine stopper. Father may stop and bow; do the same. Both acolytes will take the stopper and water to the Credence table along with silver tray.

· one acolyte will then pick up the water bowl and the other will take the towel. The server with the bowl stands closest to the altar so Father can first wash and then dry his hands.

· return these two items to the Credence table when Father is finished washing and drying his hands.

· the candle acolytes then stand next to Father, making a straight row with him and the third acolyte. All are facing the congregation.

Cross/Book acolyte:
· during the Eucharistic prayers, be prepared to turn to the appropriate pages.
· Father will bless the wine and hosts. He will turn to the book when he is ready for the first prayer. He may adjust the book on the altar.
Father will read the opening prayer (red ribbon), after the congregation says "May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands…for our good and the good of all the church…"
· the next section to be used will have the ribbon laying out the side of the Sacramentary book (this is the Preface; it is usually the blue ribbon). It starts with Father saying "The Lord be with you.." This section ends with "Holy, holy, holy" being sung by everyone. The priest may indicate which tab to turn to next. It will be one of four tabs, or a ribbon if the priest indicates that.
· the next section is the Eucharistic Prayer. Follow along in the book while Father reads the prayer, as you may turn the pages when needed.
· after the Holy Holy is sung, everyone kneels (except musicians). Youth servers should kneel on the floor.
· the Eucharistic prayer ends with everyone singing the great "Amen". Then it is time for the last tab in the book (Our Father).

Our Father:
· join hands with Father or the other server.
· the acolytes standing at the ends raise their outside hand.

Sign of Peace:
· everyone exchanges the Sign of Peace by shaking hands and/or hugging.
· the Communion ministers come up to the altar and will give the Sign of Peace. Step back to make room (behind the green section of the floor) and to the centre.
· the Communion ministers will pour the wine and get the blessed hosts from the Tabernacle.
· Father will consume a host and wine first and then give a host to each server and communion minister. Bow slightly before extending your hands to receive it. Consume it right away.
· then the cup is distributed by Father to the ministers of the cup, and they will offer it to you.

During Communion:
· the candle acolytes take the tray and wine decanter back to the Credence table and sit down.
· before communion is over, the candle acolyte closest to the altar should put the black box (communion for the sick) on the altar if it's not already there. This only occurs at the Sunday mass. The cross person takes the Missal back to the wooden stand by Father's chair and puts the black box (containing the body of Christ) on the stool beside Father's chair.

After Communion:
· after communion, Father will return to the altar and put any remaining hosts into one ciborium. He will take these consecrated hosts to the Tabernacle. The candle acolyte nearest the altar should watch and take the empty ciboria from the altar when Father has gone to the tabernacle. The empty ciboria should be placed on the tray on the Credence table. You may also remove the paten and purificator to the Credence table. The corporal should be folded and and taken to the Credence table. Sit down.

Closing Hymn:
· when the closing hymn starts, the Cross acolyte should go stand at the Cross beside the Cross holder.
· when Father starts to move toward the steps, the Cross bearer takes the cross and the Candle bearers get the candles.
· the Proclaimer will come from the congregation to pick up the Lectionary.
· the five of you will return to the bottom of the steps and take your places, with the two candles on the outside. Again, Father is the only person who should bow toward the altar, as he is the only one not holding a holy object.
· everyone turns and the cross leads the way in the recession, followed by the candles, the Lectionary bearer and Father.
· when you reach the end of the aisle, turn and return the cross and candles (blow out) to their holders.
· return to the change room and hang up your cassock, rope, cross. Hang up any that may have fallen on the floor.

· choose a cassock that's not too short and not too long.
· stand, sit and walk tall
· pay attention to Father in case he needs something not planned for.
· reach for a hymn book and sing along with the hymns (but still pay attention).
· learn all the acolyte jobs. If you are on candle, you should also learn the cross/book part.
· ask questions before mass if you don't understand something.
· sit nicely.
· cover your mouth if you have to yawn.
· put all your serving times on your home calendar as soon as you get your schedule.

· chew gum
· fidget, squirm, play with your rope tassel or cross.
· look at your friends in the congregation if you think they might make you laugh.

Servers who carry out their duties well and pay attention may be invited to serve at special occasions (Christmas, Easter) or for funerals.

If you wish to serve after you've graduated from high school, you will be transferred to an Adult team. If you are ever unable or unwilling to continue as a server, please let the scheduling team know.

Updated Jan. 2012

Mass Server Terms - Back to Mass Server Page