be done deliberately, thoroughly and without hurry, but not slowly. All
the words should be spoken audibly, each syllable articulated, every
sentence reverently pronounced.
serving, should be held together on the breast, palm to palm, with the
fingers extended and close together pointing upwards, the thumbs being
crossed right over left. When one hand is being used, the other should
lie with the open palm upon the breast. When not employed the hands may
be held merely folded together right over left against the front of the body at the height of the elbows.
Bowing is simple or moderate
. A simple
bow is made by bowing the head only; a moderate
bow is made by bowing the head and shoulders.
Genuflections are single and double
. A single
genuflection is made by dropping the right knee to touch the ground near the left heel; a double
genuflection is made by kneeling with both knees on the ground, a moderate bow being then made before rising.
Walking and Turning
All movements in the sanctuary should be noiseless and graceful. When
two or more servers are together, they should move as one body. The
rule for turning is: Never unnecessarily turn your back on the Blessed
Sacrament. To observe this rule, remember, whenever you have to turn
away from the altar, either by your right or left, always to turn back
again the reverse way, so as never to turn completely round.
Lighting the Candles
to light the candles use a taper and always begin with the candle or
candles on the Epistle side of the altar. When there are several
candles to be lighted on each side, begin with the one nearest to the
crucifix, and light in order from the topmost downwards.
To Extinguish the Candles
reverse the whole of the above order, and begin with the candle or
candles on the Gospel side of the altar, and, if there are several
candles to be put out, with the candle farthest from the crucifix and
lowest down, proceeding upwards so that the first candle that was
lighted will be the last one extinguished.
rung by the server serving Low Mass at a side altar during Exposition
of the Blessed Sacrament, or any solemn service at the high altar, or
from the Gloria in excelsis
on Holy Thursday until the Gloria in excelsis
on Holy Saturday.
The bell is rung with the right hand as follows: Grasp firmly the
handle of the bell, then raise and immediately lower it so as to sound
two distinct strokes at each time of ringing. At the Sanctus
and at each elevation and at the Domine, non sum dignus
, three double strokes are rung. At the Hanc igitur
, only one stroke of the bell is required.
The Thurible and Incense Boat
are used as follows: Before the fire is blessed, i.e. on first entering
the Sanctuary, or when the thurible is given back to the thurifer after
incense has been blessed and used, he should grasp the chains with his
LEFT hand just under the cap, letting the thurible swing freely
backwards and forwards. In his RIGHT hand he should carry the incense
boat in front of him at elbow level.
In order to present the thurible to the priest so that he may so that
he may put incense on the charcoal, the thurifer first gives the
incense boat to the Deacon (or First Assistant or the Master of
Ceremonies as the occasion requires) and after raising the lid of the
thurible by means of the ring at the top of the center chain, he grasps
the chains just above the lid with his RIGHT hand and raises the
thurible to the level of the priest's hands, taking care to place his
LEFT hand holding the cap against his breast. After the priest has put
the incense on the charcoal (and blessed it) the thurifer lowers the
thurible, closes the lid and passes the thurible to his RIGHT hand. He
then receives the boat with his LEFT hand and gives the thurible to the
Deacon (First Assistant or Master of Ceremonies) with his RIGHT hand.
While the thurible is being used the thurifer may put the incense boat
on the credence table or transfer it to his RIGHT hand if he wishes to
keep it with him. The thurifer receives back the thurible in his LEFT
hand and stands in plano
on the Epistle side swinging the thurible gently to and fro as before.
N.B. This edition of The Altar Server’s Handbook,
originally published by the Archconfraternity of St. Stephen a century
ago, contains in its pages directives which do not necessarily
correspond to the 1962 Missale Romanum
or the serving tutorial on the Sancta Missa website. The handbook is
intended as a possible aid for parishes or individuals interested in
implementing a similar guild.