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Template Parish Training Manual for Altar Boys

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This is a template that parishes can use for designing an altar boy manual to meet their specific needs.


Contents

Basic Server Procedures

Server Prayer/Lineup before Mass


Boat Thurifer
Gold Candle Crossbearer Gold Candle
2 Swing Torch Leaders
14 Swing Torches
2 Swing Torch Leaders
Big Reds
2 White Alb Leaders
White Albs
Black Cassocks

Entrance procession


Communion procedures for Sunday Masses

Exit procession

Server postures during Mass

Job-specific Instructions

Processional Cross

Assignments:

The server does not have to match the Gold candles, and contrast is encouraged (bigger or smaller, white alb or black cassock is OK). The cross is VERY HEAVY; do not assign to little servers!

Pre-Mass Preparation:

None necessary, except that the crossbearer is a key server; if there is anything different with the route of the procession, he usually needs to know.

Processional formation:

In procession, the processional cross is between the gold candles (if any). If there is not enough room, the candles may be side-by-side behind the cross or (in tight cases) follow in single file behind the cross. On occasions where there is a thurifer who is carrying a thurible, the thurifer will precede the cross and candles (except in Eucharistic processions). If there are Knights of Columbus, they do not follow the Cross; they follow Big Reds. The Cross and Gold Candles are followed by swing torches (if any), followed by Big Reds (if any), followed by the other servers.

Entrance Procession:

During the entrance procession, at the time when the servers approach the altar, the cross bearer will go toward the priest's chair (right) and go into the space between the two sets of kneelers. The white albs will form a row behind him.

He bows while the priest genuflects; they do not genuflect while holding their candles. Processional cross does put his cross away in its holder while servers are still going to their pews, and does not wait like the candles and torches do. Once the processional tools have been put away, the cross, candles, swing torches, and big red torches return to the center and stand in formation, genuflect in unison, and go to their pews. Note: at the May Crowning Mass, servers put their tools away and go to their pews immediately without waiting for the rest of the procession.

Exit procession:

On Sundays and the 4pm Saturday night Mass: during the announcements, the cross, candles, swing torches, and big red torches are to get into formation in front of the altar, genuflect in unison, get their tools, then return to their formation positions. Get them even if there is a speaker at the end of Mass—the mess is too big if we wait (Exceptions???: Mother's Day, Father's Day, Mission Sunday).

Server Blessing after Mass

Servers kneel in the vestibule on one knee (basically genuflect) to receive the blessing.

Other special circumstances

Cross never kneels or genuflects while holding it, except for server blessing after Mass.

Emergencies/Mishaps

Gold Candles (2 may be assigned)

Assignments:

Try to assign two servers that are about the same height and are either both cassocks or both albs. Gold Candles are heavy; do not assign to little servers!

Pre-Mass Preparation:

Light them 9 minutes before Mass when there are 6 or fewer swing torches, 11 minutes if more than 6 swing torches. Check that the canister's have enough fuel (about ¼” for daily Mass, about 3/8” for Sunday Masses, about ½” for Masses/Celebrations longer than 1 ½ hours).

Processional formation:

In procession, candles usually flank the processional cross (one candle on each side of the cross). If there is not enough room, the candles may be side-by-side behind the cross or (in tight cases) follow in single file behind the cross. On occasions where there is a thurifer who is carrying a thurible, the thurifer will precede the cross and candles (except in Eucharistic processions). If there are Knights of Columbus, they do not follow the Gold Candles; they follow Big Reds. Gold Candles are followed by swing torches (if any), followed by Big Reds (if any), followed by the other servers.

Entrance Procession:

When candles arrive at the altar, they separate, with each going to his respective side. The gold candles, swing torches, and big red torches are to form a row against the pew. If there are 18 swing torches, gold candles are to go all the way and curve the line back about 4 feet so that there is enough room for everyone. They bow while the priest genuflects; they do not genuflect while holding their candles. They should generally wait until after all servers not carrying processional items have cleared before they go to put their candles in their holders. They should try to arrive and put them away together at the same time (not one way ahead or behind the other). Once they have put them away, the cross, candles, swing torches, and big red torches return to the center and stand in formation, genuflect in unison, and go to their pews. Note: at the May Crowning Mass, servers put their tools away and go to their pews immediately without waiting for the rest of the procession.

Special procession for the Gospel (“Gospel candles”).

Exit procession:

On Sundays and the 4pm Saturday night Mass: during the announcements, the cross, candles, swing torches, and big red torches are to get into formation in front of the altar, genuflect in unison, get their tools, then return to their formation positions. Get them even if there is a speaker at the end of Mass—the mess is too big if we wait (Exceptions???: Mother's Day, Father's Day, Mission Sunday).

Server Blessing after Mass

Servers kneel in the vestibule on one knee (basically genuflect) to receive the blessing.

Other special circumstances

Gold Candles do not kneel for Corpus Christi procession. Gold Candles do not kneel during Exposition, Benediction, Repose of the Blessed Sacrament, or any of the Holy Thursday or Holy Saturday processions (including when they arrive at the Adoration Chapel).

Emergencies/Mishaps

If there are any injuries, the FIRST AID kit is located at:


Big Red Torches (2 may be assigned)

Assignments:

Try to assign two servers that are about the same height and are either both cassocks or both albs.

Pre-Mass Preparation:

Light them 9 minutes before Mass when there are 6 or fewer swing torches, 11 minutes if more than 6 swing torches. Check that the canister's have enough fuel (about ¼” for daily Mass, about 3/8” for Sunday Masses, about ½” for Masses/Celebrations longer than 1 ½ hours).

Processional formation:

The Big Reds follow behind the swing torches (unless there are none, in which case they follow after the Gold Candles). If there are Knights of Columbus, they do not go ahead of torches; they follow Big Reds. When there are no Knights, servers without processional tools follow the Big Reds.

Entrance Procession

The Big Reds will enter, separate when they get to the altar (like the Gold Candles), and stand in front of the ends of the pews closest to the center aisle. They bow while the priest genuflects; they do not genuflect while holding their torches. They should generally wait until after all servers not carrying processional items have cleared before they go to put their torches in their holders. They should try to arrive and put them away together at the same time (not one way ahead or behind the other). Once they have put them away, the cross, candles, swing torches, and big red torches return to the center and stand in formation, genuflect in unison, and go to their pews. Note: at the May Crowning Mass, servers put their tools away and go to their pews immediately without waiting for the rest of the procession.

Exit procession

On Sundays and the 4pm Saturday night Mass: during the announcements, the cross, candles, swing torches, and big red torches are to get into formation in front of the altar, genuflect in unison, get their tools, then return to their formation positions. Get them even if there is a speaker at the end of Mass—the mess is too big if we wait (Exceptions???: Mother's Day, Father's Day, Mission Sunday).

Server Blessing after Mass

Servers kneel in the vestibule on one knee (basically genuflect) to receive the blessing.

Other special circumstances

Big Reds do not kneel for Corpus Christi procession. Big Reds do not kneel during Exposition, Benediction, Repose of the Blessed Sacrament, or any of the Holy Thursday or Holy Saturday processions (including when they arrive at the Adoration Chapel).

Emergencies/Mishaps

If there are any injuries, the FIRST AID kit is located at:


Swing Torches (up to _________ may be assigned)

Assignments

An odd number of swing torches may be assigned. A lone swing torch may be assigned if there are already two Gold Candles assigned.

Pre-Mass Preparation:

If there are more than 6 swing torches, begin lighting them 11 minutes before Mass. Check that the canister's have enough fuel (about ¼” for daily Mass, about 3/8” for Sunday Masses, about ½” for Masses/Celebrations longer than 1 ½ hours).

Processional formation

The swing torches follow behind the Gold Candles. We regularly assign four leaders (black cassocks or responsible white albs) to lead them: two in front and two in back. Big Red Torches follow the swing torches; if there are not Big Red Torches, the other servers follow behind the Red Torches. Knights of Columbus do not go ahead of torches; they follow Big Reds.

Entrance Procession

If there are less then 14 torches, when they get to the altar, they can form a back row against the pew; if there are more than 14, the first few should follow the Gold candles to form a back bent curve so all the torches will be able to fit without jamming the aisle. They bow while the priest genuflects; they do not genuflect while holding their torches. They put them away in the holders in front of the pews. Once they have put them away, the cross, candles, swing torches, and big red torches return to the center and stand in formation, genuflect in unison, and go to their pews. Note: at the May Crowning Mass, servers put their tools away and go to their pews immediately without waiting for the rest of the procession.

Exit procession

On Sundays and the 4pm Saturday night Mass: during the announcements, the cross, candles, and big red torches are to get into formation in front of the altar, genuflect in unison, get their tools, then return to their formation positions. Get them even if there is a speaker at the end of Mass—the mess is too big if we wait (Exceptions???: Mother's Day, Father's Day, Mission Sunday).

Server Blessing after Mass

Servers kneel in the vestibule on one knee (basically genuflect) to receive the blessing.

Other special circumstances

Swing torches do not kneel for Corpus Christi procession. Swing Torches do not kneel during Exposition, Benediction, Repose of the Blessed Sacrament, or any of the Holy Thursday processions (including when they arrive at the Adoration Chapel).

Emergencies/Mishaps

Patens (up to _______ may be assigned)

Assignments

We currently have _________ patens available. When when there is only one distributor of communion, there are only two patens; when there are two, there are four patens; when there are three, there are six patens, when four, there are eight patens; when five or more, there are nine patens. When there are eight patens (normal at the 9:30 Sunday Mass), there are to be two patens per group of kneelers. When there are nine patens (also common at the 9:30 Sunday Mass), there are to be two patens per group of kneelers, with an additional server. DO NOT ASSIGN INCAPABLE SERVERS TO THIS POSITION; IF YOU DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH CAPABLE SERVERS MAKE DO WITH THE CAPABLE SERVERS YOU HAVE, EVEN IF NOT EVERY DISTRIBUTOR HAS A PATEN ACCOMPANYING HIM!

Pre-Mass Preparation

None, unless there are more than five distributors of communion, in which case it may be necessary to assign certain servers to go for the distribution of communion in other locations.

Timeliness

Servers who have patens get them from the table in the front server's row at the beginning of the Pater Noster/Our Father. If you were assigned a paten and have not gotten it by the end of the Pater Noster/Our Father, anyone may take it.

Formation at the altar

When there are eight patens (a standard at the 9:30 Sunday Mass), there are to be two patens per group of kneelers. The first servers to get their patens are to go all the way to the furthest kneelers (in front of the choir), and successive servers are to also go to the furthest open spot. Go and stand in front of the kneelers in front of the altar. If there is a ninth paten, he will go to the set of kneelers on the organ side that are closest to the center aisle.

Traveling to and from the back of the church

If traveling a significant distance with the paten after it has performed its duty (such as communion at the back of the church), place your hand in front of the paten to act as a wind barrier to prevent any Sacred Particles from being blown off the paten.

After Communion

When coming back, place your patens on the credence table and immediately return to your pew (unless the celebrant is expected to genuflect at the tabernacle within 30 seconds; if so wait and genuflect in unison with him)—do no wait for the other servers, and do not genuflect.


Emergencies/Mishaps

Gifts/Cruets (up to 2 may be assigned)

Assignments

Usually younger servers can handle this; sometimes an experienced server can be assigned with an inexperienced server to help teach him.

Pre-Mass Preparation

If not already take out, the gifts need to be put on the altar (6am Weekday Mass) or on the gifts table in front of the baptismal font (all other Masses).

Timeliness

Servers who have gifts leave their places at the end of the Prayers of the Faithful (the “Amen”; they can begin going even while the people are still standing). If no one has gone by the time the ushers have gone 2/3 of the way, anyone may take it.

Formation at the altar

The two servers come to the middle about 2 ½ feet away from the step in front of the altar and genuflect together. If there are ushers, they take a couple steps so that they are next to the ends of the first pews, then they turn, face each other, and wait until the ushers are half way down the aisle, and then they turn and go down the aisle together. If there are no ushers, they go down the aisle without waiting. They come to the back, and when they are about eight feet from the gifts table, they turn around and wait for the people to assemble.

Coming from the back of the church

If no one comes for the gifts (occasional at the Noon Weekday Mass), the servers take the gifts and bring them to the altar themselves. If people did come for the gifts, they wait until the people are ready, and once the priest get up to come to receive the gifts, the servers begin to go toward the altar. Once they arrive in front of the altar, they split to their respective sides, then turn and face inward toward each other. The priest will receive the gifts, and hand them to the deacons and/or servers accordingly.

While at the altar

Server holding wine cruet stands next to altar; server holding bowl and water cruet stands next to altar. Once finished washing the priest's hands, the two servers take the bowl, towel, and two cruets to the credence table. They empty the water in the bowl into the pitcher, and dry the bowl with the finger towel. The servers go into the center between the altar and tabernacle, genuflect, and return to their places.

Emergencies/Mishaps

Cleanup after Communion (1 or 2 may be assigned)

Assignments

Usually younger servers can handle this; sometimes an experienced server can be assigned with an inexperienced server to help teach him.

Pre-Mass Preparation

None

Timeliness

Go for this when either the majority of the priests have returned to the altar or when communion is almost finished (about 6 people left per line). If no one has gone for this job within 20 seconds of when all the priests and ministers have returned to the altar, anyone may take it.

Procedure

One of the servers takes the sleeves from the paten table with him. If it can be done reverently, the servers go into the center between the altar and tabernacle and genuflect. The one server takes the sleeves to the credence table; the other goes and stands next to the altar on the organ side to carry anything the priests give him. He helps clear off the altar after Communion; the other server helps put the patens back in their sleeves once they have been purified. Once finished, one of the servers takes the patens with him, and both servers go into the center between the altar and tabernacle, genuflect, and on the way back to their seats, the one server puts the patens back on the paten table.

Emergencies/Mishaps

Bells during Mass (usually 1 or 2; can have 3)

Assignments

Usually younger servers can handle this; sometimes an experienced server can be assigned with an inexperienced server to help teach him.

Pre-Mass Preparation

None, unless there are also special assignments for Benediction or Eucharistic processions

Timeliness

Go to the bells at the beginning of the Sanctus/Holy, Holy. If no one has arrived by the “Benedictus/Blessed is He,” anyone may take it.

Procedure

When the priest extends his hands over the Chalice and paten during the consecration, the small gold bells are rung. For the Elevations of the Host and the Chalice during the Consecration, the large silver bells are rung once, then the large gold bells are rung once, and then the large silver bells are rung once again. When the priest drinks from the chalice, ring the small gold bells. Ring for this last time even if you are late.

Emergencies/Mishaps

Chimes before Mass

You may strike the chimes between two and five times. There is no specific pattern, provided both chimes are struck in the sequence you create.

Readings (1 or 2 may need to be assigned)

If there is no organist, the one who does the final reading also does the Alleluia.

Thurifer (usually one; on a few occasions 2 servers are assigned)

When thurifer is holding the thurible, he generally goes ahead of the processional cross unless it is appropriate for him to be in another position (such as during a Eucharistic procession). Incensing of the altar is done at the beginning of Mass before the Sign of the Cross, during the time of the Gospel (before the “The Lord be with you”), during the offertory between the offering of the wine and the washing of the hands, and during the Consecration at the Elevations of the Host and the Chalice.

Boat (usually one; can have 2 assigned if two thurifers)

Boat does not usually precede cross with the thurifer; he usually lines up with all the other altarboys who are not carrying anything.

Humeral veil

For Benediction, the veil is placed on the priest's shoulders after he finishes the prayer, and is taken off his shoulders when he has returned to the altar steps after having given the blessing.

“Opening and Closing”

Sits on the right side of the celebrant. Hand bulletin to priest at the beginning of Mass. Brings the Sacramentary to the priest at the Opening Prayer (after the Kyrie/Lord, have mercy and Gloria when said). After the homily (and the Creed if said) holds the General Intercessions clipboard for the priest (and deacon if present); if a weekday Mass and no deacon is present, frequently also reads the intercessions. At the beginning of the Offertory, brings chalice to the altar. If no deacon is present, he also “disassembles” chalice and places paten on corporal. Takes chalice veil (and burse if present) back to credence table. He or the “Pages” server also brings the bowl and finger towel to the altar. Server then goes down and stands on the bottom step to the right of the priest while the people bring up the gifts. Stands on the right side of the priest for the Offering of the Gifts, Preface, Eucharistic Prayer, etc. After receiving communion, ensure the pall is put on the chalice and the lid is on the ciborium (if present), then go and kneel down in front of the tabernacle. Returns to chair when priest(s) come back from distributing communion, remains standing until priest genuflects when putting Blessed Sacrament away, at which time genuflect with the priest, then sit down. Have Sacramentary ready in your hands so you do not have to scramble when priest stands. When priest stands, bring Sacramentary for Prayer after Communion. On some major feasts (Christmas, Easter, etc.) the priest might also tell you to stay or come back with the Sacramentary for giving a Solemn Blessing. Leaves chair when the priest leaves chair.

“Pages”

Sits on the left side of the celebrant (unless a priest or deacon takes his chair, then he finds a spare chair somewhere to the right of the priest in the sanctuary). At the beginning of the Offertory, brings Sacramentary on book stand to the altar. He or the “Opening & Closing” server also brings the bowl and finger towel to the altar. Server then goes down and stands on the bottom step to the left of the priest while the people bring up the gifts. Stands on the right side of the priest for the Offering of the Gifts, Preface, Eucharistic Prayer, etc.

Turns pages of Sacramentary form the time of the Offertory until just before Communion.

After receiving communion, remove the bookstand from the altar and put it back on the short credence table, then go and kneel down in front of the tabernacle. Returns to chair when priest(s) come back from distributing communion, remains standing until priest genuflects when putting Blessed Sacrament away, at which time genuflect with the priest, then sit down. Leaves chair when the priest leaves chair.

Mitre and Crosier

Note: Most bishops from outside the diocese do not use mitre or crosier when they come here.


The Bishop- holds his crosier for the Gospel; for the Renewal of Baptismal Promises, for the blessing at the end of Mass and when entering and leaving the church. The crosier bearer should stand near the Bishop with the crosier pointing towards the people during the anointing with Chrism Oil.


He wears his mitre for the Readings until the Alleluia for the Renewal of

Baptismal Promises, for the actual administration of the Chrism Oil, for the Presentation of the gifts, for the blessing at the end of Mass and when entering and leaving the church.


During the anointing at Confirmation, the Bishop sits and puts on his mitre.

The crosier bearer stands behind the Bishop to the left, holding the crosier which points towards the people. The Oil of Chrism is brought to the Bishop: the server remains holding the oil to the right of the Bishop.


His zucchetto is removed after he has said the Prayer over the Gifts. He puts it on again after the distribution of communion has been finished.

Other Jobs

Altar setup (up to 2)

Alb leaders (2)

Prayers of the Faithful/General Intercessions

Bookbearer (for occasions other than “Opening and Closing”)

Bells during Benediction (up to 3)

Setup Jobs
  • Light candles
  • Set books
  • Take out chalice
  • Ensure tabernacle key is out

After Mass jobs

  • Extinguish candles
  • Refill cruets
  • Set books for the next Mass


Mass-Specific Instructions

6am Weekday

This is the Mass that does have a time limit (30 minutes, except for Holy Days). Gifts, chalice, and Sacramentary are already located on the altar. Speed is a key element for this Mass; this does not apply to any other Masses.

9am Weekday

This Mass follows the regular pattern of weekday Masses, except for Wednesday, which has Exposition at the end of Mass.

12 Noon Weekday

This Mass follows the regular pattern of weekday Masses except when this Mass is combined with a funeral, or it is on the 13th day in the months from May to October (special Fatima procession after Mass).

7pm Weekday

This Mass follows the regular pattern for weekday Masses, except for Thursday night Mass (Vespers merged into the Mass with Exposition & Benediction at the end of Mass) and First Friday (Exposition, Prayers to the Sacred Heart, and Benediction at end of Mass).

4pm Saturday

This Mass follows the regular pattern for Sunday Masses except when there is a baptism (between the Homily and Offertory) or there is a wedding.

6pm Saturday (Tridentine)

This is a Tridentine Mass offered in the manner Mass was offered before Vatican II. Only responsible black cassocks may serve this Mass. This Mass has its own separate set of instructions, manuals, and diagrams.

7:30am Sunday

This Mass follows the regular pattern for Sunday Masses, except for the 2nd Sunday of every month, when there is the Holy Name Society Pledge (after Communion, before Prayer After Communion).

9:30am Sunday

This Mass follows the regular pattern for Sunday Masses, but there are Gospel Candles whenever there is a deacon, there is occasionally a baptism (between the Homily and Offertory), and there are frequent exceptions for special occasions (Palm Sunday, Easter, Corpus Christi, May Crowning, etc.).

11:30am Sunday

This Mass mostly follows the regular pattern for Sunday Masses, but is offered in a foreign language.

1:30am Sunday

This Mass follows the normal Sunday Mass procedures, except for a few specially scheduled events (such as Divine Mercy Sunday).

6:30am Sunday

This Mass mostly follows the regular pattern for Sunday Masses.

8:30am Sunday

This Mass mostly follows the regular pattern for Sunday Masses


Special Occasions

Feast of the Presentation/Candlemas (February 2)

The Blessing of Candles; everything from the Gloria onwards is as usual.

Memorial of St. Blase (February 3)

Blessing of Throats at end of Mass.

Ash Wednesday (beginning of Lent)

No Penitential Rite; Opening Prayer immediately after the greeting of the people. The Blessing of the Ashes is after the homily, but no one receives them until end of Mass.

Lenten Season

No Gloria, not even for the Solemnities of St. Joseph and the Annunciation

Rite of Election (Lenten Sundays when adults are being baptized at the Easter Vigil)

The Rites of Election for RCIA candidates take place.

Palm Sunday

Celebrant begins while wearing a cope. Incense is used for the 9:30am Mass (procession and first incensation of the altar only). There is a Gospel reading that is read at the entrance of the church (approximately between the pillars inside the church; the portable microphone will be necessary). Procession around church holding palms (applies only to 9:30 am Sunday Mass and 6pm Saturday Mass). After arriving at the altar, the cope is exchanged for a chasuble. There is no Sign of the Cross, Introductory Rite, Kyrie/Lord, have mercy, or Gloria. After the Opening Prayer, the palms are collected from the altar boys and are kept together until their use at the end of Mass. There is the First Reading, Psalm, Second Reading, Gospel Acclamation, and Passion Gospel. There are no Gospel candles. The celebrant reads from the Chair; the Narrator reads from the ambo, the Voice reads from the Lectern. After the Passion Gospel, there is a short homily. No other differences after this, except that servers again carry their palms on the way out.

Holy Thursday

Overview

Eucharist is not in the tabernacle at beginning of Mass—do not genuflect until the Consecration. Bells not used after Gloria—clackers used instead. Washing of Feet after Homily. After Communion, procession of all servers and clergy with Blessed Sacrament to doors of Chapel, but only a select few servers enter the chapel; all others remain outside. We do not reenter the church.


Setup

All clackers are placed on altar step by the bells. Two humeral veils are ready in the pews. Charcoals are already broken for incense. Towels, pitcher, and basin are ready for the washing of the feet. Have a 2 days' supply of hosts to be consecrated. Have the holy oils on the gifts table.


Details

Servers will line up in processional position before the Server's Prayer, and pray the Server's Prayer while in processional position. Servers line up as usual before Mass, with thurifer and boat in the front. We process in as normal; incense goes to the left side of the altar steps, and when the clergy arrive we all BOW. The clergy ascend and kiss the altar; thurifer and boat ascend the altar steps for the incensation of the altar; all other servers stay where they are until the incensation is complete, upon which they put their tools away and go to their seats. Mass proceeds as normal: Sign of the Cross, Kyrie/Lord, have mercy. For the Gloria, three servers go to the altar step to ring the bells. Ring in this manner; silver, little gold, big gold. They ring them throughout the entire Gloria. After the Gloria, one of the larger bell servers carries the bells and pad to the sacristy. After the Opening Prayer, everyone sits down. We have Gospel Candles, even though there is no Gospel Book; servers go for them at the normal time. Thurifer and boat ascend the steps after the Second Reading for the incensation of the Gospel. After the Gospel, there is a homily. After the homily, the two servers on the altar assist the celebrant and deacon with the Washing of the Feet. After the Washing of the Feet, the celebrant goes to the back credence table to wash his hands. There is no Creed. The Prayers of the Faithful follow the Washing of the Feet. After the Prayers of the Faithful, everyone sits, and the servers on the altar set up the altar as normal. When the gifts procession comes forward, one of the servers on the altar will also need to bring the acceptance prayers of the holy oils with him (usually on the opposite side of the Prayers of the Faithful folder). The gifts procession comes forward, but usually there is added solemnity in the following way: first, there is frequently an item or items presented besides the typical gifts (such as flowers, etc.), and the celebrant usually gives a commentary about its significance. Then the three holy oils are presented one at a time. For each one, the celebrant prays one of the acceptance prayers. After the oils have been presented, the remaining offertory gifts are presented. Incense is used during the offertory. Mass continues as normal (Prayer over the Gifts, Preface). At the Sanctus/Holy, Holy, the thurifer goes in front of the altar for the incensation during the Consecration. Meanwhile, four servers go to the bells position for the clackers. For the clackers: one server does the epiclesis (when the priest extends his hands) and (later on) the drinking from the chalice; the other three use their clackers during the elevations. A “ring” with the clacker constitutes two sets of “hits.” After the Eucharistic prayer, patens get into position during the Our Father (as normal). After Communion, the ciboria are left on the altar, and Cleanup takes place. The celebrant will pray the prayer after Communion, then go down to the front altar step, where the thurifer and boat will bring him the incense, and he will incense the Blessed Sacrament. Meanwhile, the servers will line up in the central aisle and kneel down facing the altar (no genuflecting on the way to their positions). Two servers with humeral veils will come and bring the humeral veils for the priest and deacon. Order of procession will be as follows: cross and gold candles, swing torches, big reds, white albs, black cassocks, all clackers, clergy, thurifer and boat, deacon and celebrant, humeral veil servers. The priest and deacon will get up to go pick up the ciboria. Once the priest and deacon have lifted the ciboria off the altar, servers stand up and begin the procession through the main doors toward the chapel. Upon arrival at the chapel, virtually all servers kneel down outside the doors of the chapel (including cross, gold candles, swing torches, big reds, white albs, black cassocks, and clackers). Only clergy, thurifer and boat, celebrant and deacon, and humeral veil servers enter chapel. ENSURE ALL KNEELERS ARE OUT OF THE WAY!!! After the Blessed Sacrament has been reposed, all kneel in silence for a couple minutes, then all clergy and servers in the chapel rise and exit the chapel. The celebrant gives the server blessing, and the ceremony is ended for the night.


Good Friday

Overview

Not a Mass; Stations of the Cross before the Service. Entrance procession without any candles, prostration at the altar, two readings, reading of the Passion, Homily, Veneration of the Cross by Clergy & Servers, Special Prayers of the Faithful (with “Let us Kneel” and “Let us Stand”). No Eucharistic Prayer. Altar cloth, candles, and corporal are placed on altar. Blessed Sacrament is brought from Chapel. Our Father, Lamb of God, distribution of Communion. Blessed Sacrament taken back to Chapel. Procession out. After the Service the Cross is venerated by the people.


Setup

Two humeral veils need to be in the chapel. Two clackers need to be in chapel. The two big red stands and the two gold candle stands need to be behind the altar. Large veiled crucifix needs to be in the sacristy for use during Veneration of the Cross. Portable microphone needs to be ready in sacristy for use during Veneration of the Cross. A cruet of water needs to be on the credence table in the sanctuary for Cleanup after Communion.


Details

We start the Services with the Stations of the Cross at 12 noon.

We line up outside the wood entrance doors to the main part of the church for the Stations of the Cross.

Only big reds, gold candles, and cross for stations—black cassocks only, no swing torches, servers can swap with a second group of servers halfway through the Stations of the Cross (as usual).

Big reds, gold candles, and cross take outer aisle and stand beneath the stations; clergy and other servers take the inner aisles (as usual). At the end of the Stations of the Cross we kneel in front of the altar to complete the concluding prayers. Once finished with the prayers, we stand, turn around, and process out (no bowing or genuflecting).

Crossbearer puts cross away (not used any more today), gold candles put candles in the sacristy and keep them lit (they will use them for the entrance with the large crucifix for the Veneration of the Cross), big reds place their torches in the side chapel next to the niche by the confessionals (will be used for entrance and exit with the Blessed Sacrament from and to the chapel; extinguish torches for safety's sake, but make sure to have matches to relight them later). Stands for big reds and gold candles are placed behind the altar before the Service, and during the Service they are placed in front of the altar by the servers on the altar while the people are waiting for the deacon to come back from the sacristy with the large crucifix for the Veneration of the Cross.

We line up for the Service: Two tall intelligent black cassocks in front, white albs (shortest to tallest), two white alb leaders, black cassocks (shortest to tallest), and clergy. There are no gold candles, big reds, processional cross, big red torches, or incense for the primary entrance or exit processions.

We enter the church, split as usual, and the clergy come to the altar. All clergy physically capable immediately lay prostrate (the rest kneel on the kneelers); all servers kneel down immediately (there is no genuflection or bowing beforehand). We remain there for several minutes, then rise. Priest and clergy immediately stand and go to their chairs (they do not kiss the altar, bow, or genuflect. The servers go directly to their seats (no bowing or genuflecting). The priest will immediately read the Opening Prayer from the foreign language Sacramentary (no Sign of the Cross, Introductory Rites, Kyrie/Lord have mercy, or Gloria).

There is the First Reading, Psalm, Second Reading, Gospel Acclamation, and Passion Gospel. The celebrant reads from the Chair; the Narrator reads from the ambo, the Voice reads from the Lectern. After the Passion Gospel, there is a short homily.

After the Homily, the altar microphone, English Sacramentary, and foreign language Sacramentary are placed on the altar. The priest and deacon go to read the Prayers of the Faithful. The format for each intercession is: “Let us pray for...,” “Let us kneel,” “Let us stand,” Almighty and Eternal God...” There is no Creed. After the Prayers of the Faithful, the deacon and three servers go to the sacristy. Meanwhile, the servers on the altar take the microphone and sacramentaries off the altar, and place the stands for the gold candles and big reds in front of the altar (gold candles on inside, big reds on outside). The deacon carries the large crucifix, two of the servers carry the gold candles, and the third server (needs to be tall) holds the microphone and assists the deacon in the unveiling of the crucifix. The deacon comes to the entrance of the church and stands at the back of the church near the pillars facing the altar. The two candles approximately flank him, but need to be far enough from the deacon that the third server can assist in the unveiling. The server stands on one side of the deacon (preferably the left) and unveils one of the arms. He then holds the microphone for the deacon while the deacon chants “This is the wood...” After the “Come, let us worship,” the deacon and the gold candles advance halfway down the aisle; meanwhile, the third server quietly goes around the back side of the deacon to his other side. When the deacon arrives at the point halfway down the aisle, the two candles will continue to approximately flank him. The third server unveils the other arm on the crucifix, then holds the microphone for the deacon while the deacon chants “This is the wood...” After the “Come, let us worship,” the deacon ascends the altar steps and turns around to face the people while still holding the large crucifix. The gold candles put their candles in the stands and return to their places; the third server stands beside the deacon, unveils the cross the rest of the way, holds the veil, and then holds the microphone for the deacon while the deacon chants “This is the wood...” After the “Come, let us worship,” the third server goes to his seat. The clergy come and venerate the crucifix. Meanwhile, up to six servers will direct the traffic flow of the servers going to venerate the cross. Their positions will be: one directing servers out of pews, one at the back of the church directing a right turn at the end of the aisle, one at the pillars directing a right turn and forming servers into a single file, one server halfway down the aisle ensuring servers are filing properly (in case previous server guide was unable to order them properly), one near the cross to ensure that servers venerate the cross in an appropriate timely manner and go to the right when done (not backwards!), and one near the left corner of the server's pews to ensure servers go around the far right side of the pews and along the wall to return to their positions. Servers will file out of the pews beginning with the last pew, go down the aisle to the back of the church, make a right turn, go across to near the main entrance of the church, make a right turn, go between the pillars and around the right side of the baptismal font (in single file), go down the aisle, genuflect, kiss the feet of Jesus on the cross, leave and proceed off to the right towards the wall of the church, make a right turn, and proceed to their appropriate pews. The server guide who had been directing servers out of their pews will take join the line at its end once all servers have exited their pews; all other server guides will join the end of the line as the end of the line approaches them. After the servers have venerated the cross, the cross is leaned up against the altar (unless there is a stand for the cross, in which case the cross is put in the stand). Once this is done, two of the clergy will go to the chapel to get the Blessed Sacrament. The MC and six servers will accompany them: two for big red torches, two for humeral veils, and two for clackers. They will exit the main part of the church through the main wood doors and enter the chapel. Meanwhile, the servers on the altar will bring out two tall stationary gold candlestands, place them between the stands for the gold candles and big reds, and light them. The celebrant will spread out a miniature altarcloth and at least one corporal, and then place the microphone and English Sacramentary on the altar. In the chapel, two servers will put the humeral veils on the clergy; the two big reds will light and hold the big red torches; the two clackers will pick up the clackers. Order of procession: big reds, clackers, MC, two clergymen, two humeral veil servers. They will reenter the church through the main door and proceed to the altar steps. The two red torches will ascend the steps and place their big reds in the stands; the two clackers will proceed to their seats; the two clergymen will ascend the stairs, go around to the other side of the altar, place the ciboria on the altar, and then take off their humeral veils; the humeral veil servers will follow the clergymen around the altar and wait behind them until they take off the humeral veils. The humeral veil servers will take the humeral veils back to their spots and fold them—they will need them later for when the Blessed Sacrament is put back in the chapel.

The celebrant comes to the altar, and after a brief introduction, prays the Our Father. (There is no Offertory, Prayer over the Gifts, Preface, or Eucharistic Prayer.) During the Our Father, the patens will get their patens and get into position. There is no Sign of Peace. After the priests receive communion, the people receive communion as normal. Once communion is finished, Cleanup takes place. Meanwhile, one humeral veil server (or two, if necessary) will come to the sanctuary and place the humeral veil on the clergyman (or clergymen) who will take the Blessed Sacrament to the chapel. This server (or servers) will follow the clergyman (or clergymen) to the chapel through the main entrance of the church, and receive back the humeral veil (or veils) once the Blessed Sacrament is placed back in the tabernacle. The humeral veil server (or servers) may return to their seats through the side door of the chapel.

Once the clergyman (clergymen) have returned, the celebrant reads the Final Prayer, gives any necessary announcements, and concludes with a Prayer over the People. All clergy and servers assemble before the altar, genuflect to the large crucifix, and depart down the center aisle.


Holy Saturday/Easter Vigil

Overview

Go outside for lighting of Pashal Fire. Process in with candles, which are lit at the second “Light of Christ.” The Exultet/ Easter Proclamation. Several Old Testament readings. Candles are lit, then Gloria is sung. Epistle, Gospel. Homily. Blessing of Baptismal fountain, baptisms and confirmations. Renewal of Baptismal Promises replaces Creed. Mass proceeds almost as normal until end of Communion. Procession to chapel, Blessed Sacrament is brought back to tabernacle, process out.


Setup

Need monstrance in chapel. Need monstrance stand on credence table. Need humeral veil in chapel.


Details

Servers line up along the corridor inside the church between the main and side wood entrance doors to the main part of the church. The order is as follows: celebrant and deacon, clergy, thurifer and boat, Easter Candle server assistant and bookbearer (one of the servers on the altar), black cassocks tallest to shortest, white albs tallest to shortest, and two intelligent black cassocks. Proceed outside through the center sets of black entrance doors. Celebrant and deacon, clergy, thurifer and boat, Easter Candle server assistant and bookbearer will go to the pascal fire (located to the west of the entrance, near the mailbox); all other servers will form two columns that begin underneath the outer edge of the portico and extend through the central black doors into the church. Keep about 2 ½' of space between the columns of servers; the Easter candle will need the pathway through later. The fire is blessed, charcoal is placed in the thurible, the Easter candle is lit, and the Easter candle receives the blessing/incriptions. The celebrant and deacon, clergy, thurifer and boat, Easter Candle server assistant and bookbearer go between the servers to the (new) front of the line of servers. Easter candle leads procession. They process up to the other side of the Baptismal font. Move away from doors to let people get by. First Lumen Christi; celebrant's candle is lit. Advance to ½ way point of church, second Lumen Christi. Everyone's candles are lit. Process forward and deacon stands on altar. Third Lumen Christi. Easter candle is placed in stand; Easter candle assistant server assists deacon. Everyone goes to their places. The incense is brought to the celebrant and he loads it, the deacon receives a blessing from the celebrant, the deacon goes to the lectern and incenses the Sacramentary, then sings the Exultet. Everyone puts out their candles, sit down. First reading in English, first psalm in English, first prayer in a foreign language (need foreign language Sacramentary!) Second reading in a foreign language, second psalm in a foreign language, second prayer in English (need English Sacramentary!) Third reading in English, third psalm in English, third prayer in a foreign language (need foreign language Sacramentary!) After third prayer, all sanctuary candles and swing torches are lit (except big reds, gold candles, and sanctuary lamps) are lit from the flame of the Easter candle: no direct lighting of matches or lighters. Do not light the people's candles. For the Gloria, three servers go to the altar step to ring the bells. Ring in this manner; silver, little gold, big gold. They ring them throughout the entire Gloria. There is a prayer, then the Epistle. There is the Easter Alleluia intoned by the celebrant, followed by the Gospel Acclamation. The Gospel is incensed. There are no Gospel candles. The homily is given.

After the homily, if anyone is being received into the church, these rites will take place at this time. There will be three servers assigned to the altar; these servers will also go to the baptismal font if necessary and assist the deacon in removing and returning the Easter candle during this portion of the rites.

For the offertory gifts procession, thurifer and boat will lead it. The altar will be incensed during the Offertory. Incense will be used during the Eucharistic Prayer. Servers on altar light big reds, gold candles, and sanctuary lamps during communion. After Communion and the Prayer after Communion, celebrant goes to chapel through main entrance doors and is escorted by gold candles and big red torches. Meanwhile, humeral veil server goes down side aisle and through side chapel door to chapel. Servers on altar place monstrance stand on altar. Swing torches will go to get their torches once the celebrant has left for the chapel, but they will remain their in front of the pews until the celebrant returns to the altar. After humeral veil is put on celebrant, the celebrant places the host in the monstrance and, with the gold candles and big reds leading him, comes with the monstrance into the church through the main wood doors to a point approximately between the pillars and chants the first time. Meanwhile, the humeral veil server may return through the side chapel door to his seat. Celebrant advances halfway down the aisle and chants the second time. Bells go to bell pad and pick up their bells. Celebrant ascends altar steps, turns toward people, and chants the third time. The foreign language hymn begins and the procession starts. Order of procession is as follows: Gold candles, big reds, bells, swing torches (have four black cassocks as swing torches on the ends), and celebrant holding monstrance. Procession is a standard Eucharistic procession: down center aisle, right, right, right, right, right, right, back down center aisle to altar, servers split to their appropriate sides and kneel down. Celebrant places monstrance on monstrance stand, takes off humeral veil, incense comes to him, clergy come down to kneelers, bells go kneel at bell pad, and benediction begins. Humeral veil server gives humeral veil to celebrant before the blessing and takes it back after the blessing. After Blessed Sacrament is reposed, all servers come in front of altar, and all genuflect and exit.

Easter Sunday

For the 9:30 am Mass

Incense is used; thurifer and boat lead procession. If there is not a procession at the beginning of Mass, servers process up in the normal way. If there is a procession, servers make a right turn at the door, and proceed around the church making left turns, until they turn left and come up the central aisle. Thurifer and boat go to the left; other servers split as normal. After the genuflection, all servers stay at their places while the altar is incensed. They then put away their tools/return to their seats as normal. Incense and Gospel candles are used during the Gospel. After the Homily, the Renewal of Baptismal Promises takes place. There is no Creed. A rite of sprinkling follows; deacon holds holy water bucket, so no servers are needed in this operation. This is followed by the prayers of the Faithful and the Offertory. The altar is incensed during the Offertory. Incense is used during the Eucharistic prayer. Everything else proceeds as normal.


All other Masses

Everything proceeds as normal until after the Homily. After the Homily, the Renewal of Baptismal Promises takes place. There is no Creed. A rite of sprinkling follows; a server will be needed to carry the holy water bucket while the celebrant goes around the church sprinkling the people. This is followed by the prayers of the Faithful and the Offertory. Everything else proceeds as normal.


Divine Mercy Sunday

Apples to 1:30pm Mass only: at end of Mass there is Exposition, recitation of Divine Mercy Chaplet, and Benediction.

Commitment Mass (for those receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation)

Confirmation Mass

Pentecost

There is a sequence (remain seated for it; it is after Epistle).

Corpus Christi

For all Masses other than the 10:00am

There is a sequence (remain seated for it; it is after Epistle).

For 10:00am Mass

Overview

Procession with the Knights of Columbus into church. There is a sequence (remain seated for it; it is after the Epistle). At End of Mass, procession outside to 4 altars with the Blessed Sacrament, process back into church, Benediction, process out.


Setup

Throne (monstrance stand) is placed on first altar. Four doorstops need to be at the black glass main exit doors. The amplifier “boombox” needs to be ready near the server's seats. The monstrance needs to be on the back altar next to the tabernacle. Try to ensure second altar is at least 20 feet away from air conditioner wall so that servers can turn around and proceed out to the right; if this is not possible, the altar must have enough room for the servers to pass behind it. Fourth must have enough room behind it for the servers to be able to process behind it.


Details

Servers line up against corridor wall before Mass. There is NO INCENSING until the arrival at the first altar outside (charcoal is lit at the end of communion). Order of procession: Cross & Gold candles, big reds, Knights of Columbus, swing torches, white albs, black cassocks, clergy. Mass goes as normal until the Epistle. There is a sequence (remain seated for it; it is after the Epistle). Mass proceeds as normal until the announcements. First, flower girls go to the vestibule discreetly (quietly) from their places in the congregation. There is NO FINAL BLESSING. Next, servers go get their tools and line up in the aisle (cross and candles near the baptismal font). Priest goes to tabernacle and gets monstrance. When he turns around, servers stand and begin to process SLOWLY out the main door of the church.


If altars are up against side of church (2009)

(Note: In 2008, altars were spread in a circle around the front lawn of the church. In 2007, altars were in a circle around the perimeter of the church.)

May Crowning Only applies to 9:30am/10:00am Mass:

Overview

Procession of girls with flowers and Crowning Court follow clergy on procession into church. After Crowning Ceremony (done after the Homily), Mass continues almost as normal.

Setup

The two swing torch stands go up against the east wall near the server seats to form one row of 18 swing torches.

Details

Servers line up against corridor wall before Mass. There is NO INCENSE today. Order of procession: Cross & Gold candles, two traffic guides, swing torches, big reds, Knights of Columbus, white albs, black cassocks, clergy, Homeschool & Religious Education kids (girls on left/north, boys on right/east), First Communicants (girls on left/north, boys on right/east), and Confirmandi (girls on left/north, boys on right/east). They process in: cross and candles go straight up to sanctuary to put away their tools (no bowing or genuflecting on the way), traffic guide on the left/north directs all server to turn to the right (no bowing or genuflecting on the way), traffic guide on the east/right first directs swing torches toward the torch stands at east wall, then directs servers without tools to their seats (through the aisle on the west side of the servers' seats). Knights of Columbus will arrive at the front pew and stand facing each other with swords extended in an arch form for everyone else after them to pass through. When clergy arrive at altar step they will genuflect; at the same time, all servers will genuflect from their places in the pew. The clergy go to their seats and sit down; the congregation and servers also sit down. The rest of the procession continues to come in: several girls stand with vases on the altar steps while the children put them in them, and as they are filled they put them in front of the back altar (but not in the way of tabernacle access!) None of the flowers are put in front of the low (front) altar. Confirmandi DO NOT put their flowers in these vases; they keep them for the crowning ceremony later. After the procession has finished and everyone has gone to their seats, everyone stands up; Mass begins with the Sign of the Cross and proceeds basically as normal. One reading is in English; the other is in a foreign language. There are Gospel candles, but no Gospel book. After the Homily, the celebrant goes to the chair and, while everyone remains seated, he reads the prayer from the navy blue “Order of Crowning an Image of the Blessed Virgin Mary” book at the priest's chair. The celebrant then sits down while the Confirmandi proceed with the crowning ceremony. After the crowning ceremony, and when the Confirmandi have returned to their seats, everyone stands and prays the Creed. Mass continues as normal until the end of Mass. When lining up for the exit procession, the Knights will be in front of the front pews, so Cross, gold candles, big reds, and swing torches line up in the center aisle instead (they do not attempt to do a group genuflection before going for their tools).

Mother's Day

A blessing for Mothers after the announcements

Father's Day

A blessing for Fathers after the announcements

Graduation Mass

(any differences?)

First Sunday of Advent

Blessing of the Advent Wreath at beginning of Mass

Advent Season

Remember to light the Advent wreath! There is no Gloria except for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

Memorial of St. Nicholas

Additional duties near the end of Mass

Christmas Eve

Christmas Day

Baptisms

In the context of the Mass, the baptism(s) is after the Homily, and before the Offertory. The Rite of Baptism replaces the Creed and Prayers of the Faithful. Everything up to and including the Homily, and from the Offertory onward is the same as usual.

Weddings

Normal procession into church, a second procession of the bridal party immediately follows. Bride & groom remain at kneeler in front of altar for entire Mass (except when they sit). Wedding vows after homily. After Communion, consecration of marriage to the Blessed Virgin Mary? Wedding party processes out first, then clergy & servers process out.

Funerals

In the context of the Mass, the funeral affects the beginning of Mass (before the First Reading) and the end of Mass (after the Prayer After Communion).

Wedding Anniversaries

Difference: after the homily, there is the renewal of the Marriage Vows. After this, the Mass continues with the Creed (if prayed) and the Prayers of the Faithful. Everything else remains the same.

Feasts

Difference: for feasts, the Gloria is prayed.

Solemnities

Difference: for solemnities, both the Gloria and Creed are prayed

Principles of serving

Reverence

Altarboys add to the solemnity of the Mass. They inspire hope in the faithful. Our service brings us close to the deep mysteries of God. We are here to worship and adore God.

The principle of “cutting your losses”

If you make a mistake, the congregation will frequently not notice, or only a few people will. It is human to make mistakes, and although we try to diminish them through training and practice, they will still occasionally occur. Sometimes we forget things—such as Gospel candles. If we do, do not worry about it; the Mass will still look OK without them, and it will look worse and be more distracting to try to run for them half-way through the Alleluia. If you forgot to ring the bells when the priest extends his hands during the Eucharistic Prayer, either ring them when the priest makes the sign of the cross over the gifts, or just let it pass—a frantic ring at the wrong time is out of place. If you go the wrong way, try to make it look OK. Do not get frantic or rush; by remaining calm, you will give the impression that you know what you are doing.



For more on qualities that altar boys should have, and for information on what the different utensils for the Mass are, please look at the Parent's Training Manual for Altar Boys.

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