How to prepare the Sanctuary.
If there be no sacristan, the server may remove the crucifix and altar
cover; if necessary, also the altar cards, and place on the altar the
Benediction candlesticks. He will see that the monstrance is in
position on the Gospel side, with the opening towards the Tabernacle.
If altar steps are used they should be placed in plano
on the Gospel side. The humeral veil should be placed folded on the
credence. The Benediction book and the bell may be on the altar step.
How to prepare in the Sacristy: In the priest's sacristy the following vestments should be prepared:
For Solemn Benediction (i.e., with deacon and subdeacon).
For the celebrant: amice, alb, cincture, stole and cope.
For deacon and subdeacon: amice, alb and cincture, and stole and dalmatic for the deacon, and tunic for the subdeacon.
Otherwise: amice, cotta and stole for the celebrant, and stole for the assistant priest.
In the servers' sacristy should be prepared the thurible and incense boat, and the torches.
When the celebrant is
vested, the procession forms in the following order: The thurifer
precedes, carrying and gently swinging the thurible in his left hand,
having his thumb in the ring of the cap, and the chain ring on his
middle finger, and holding the incense boat in his right hand against
his breast; then follow the torchbearers carrying the torches in their
outside hands, then the servers, and lastly the celebrant with sacred
ministers, or with two assistants. If there be two assistants, one will
support the cope on the right hand, and the other on the left. The cope
is always held by the outside edge of the orphrey or gold-embroidered
edge, about a foot from the end, so that the embroidered edge is shown,
and not the lining of the cope.
On the arrival in the
sanctuary, after the birettas have been removed, all genuflect
together; the celebrant and sacred ministers and the torchbearers
Then the celebrant, the
deacon or the assistant priest ascends the altar steps, spreads the
corporal and exposes the Blessed Sacrament; meanwhile if steps are used
the second assistant server brings them and places them in position on
the predella, genuflects with the priest, and standing lifts his alb as
he ascends the steps. When the priest has descended, both priest and
server stepping aside genuflect together, and the server removes the
steps from off the predella to their proper place. The server returns
to the left of the celebrant or subdeacon and kneels down.
The thurifer approaches and
hands the incense boat to the M.C. or deacon or first assistant server,
while the subdeacon or second assistant server comes to the right side
of the priest to hold the cope. The thurifer meanwhile, holding the
thurible in his left hand, raises the lid-chain with his right hand,
and lifts the thurible to the level of the priest's hand, having the
hand with the cap against his breast. When the incense has been placed
in the thurible, the thurifer, releasing the ring of the middle chain,
closes the lid, and with his right hand hands the thurible to the
deacon, or assistant, who, holding the thurible in his left hand, gives
the thurible into the celebrant's right hand and with the left hand
passes the cap into the left hand of the celebrant.
When the priest incenses
the Blessed Sacrament, the assistant servers (in the absence of deacon
and subdeacon) sustain the cope on either side. If there be no deacon,
the first assistant server will receive back again the thurible, from
the celebrant, pass it to the thurifer, who retires aside and remains
standing and gently swinging the thurible.
If the Blessed Sacrament is
already exposed, the first incensing is omitted, and the thurifer does
not bring the thurible into the sanctuary until the Tantum Ergo has been commenced. If only the Tantum Ergo is sung, the thurifer will enter the sanctuary with the celebrant.
If the celebrant is alone,
after he has placed the Blessed Sacrament on the altar and knelt down,
the M.C. or the thurifer, if there be no M.C., ascends the predella and
places the humeral veil on his shoulders and remains kneeling on the
Epistle side of the predella until after the blessing, if the veil is
removed before the celebrant descends. If the celebrant descends with
the veil in plano, then the M.C. or thurifer may descend immediately after putting the veil on the celebrant and kneel below during the blessing.
For the blessing the two
assistants ascend the predella, and during the blessing they sustain
the cope. they afterwards descend with the celebrant and kneel with him
on the lowest step whilst the Divine Praises are said.
The M.C. or thurifer puts the veil aside on the credence and kneels between the torchbearers.
The custom of incensing the Blessed Sacrament during the act of Benediction is not in accordance with the best liturgical use.
When the tabernacle is closed, the thurifer and torchbearers rise, and after genuflecting together in plano, proceed to the sacristy in the same order as they came.
Should there be exposition
only, without reposition, the same order is to be observed up to the
end of the first incensation, after which all rise, genuflect on both
knees, and proceed to the Sacristy.
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.