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Ordo Missae of the 1962 Missale Romanum

How to Serve the Latin Mass

Correct Mass-Serving Made Easy

by Rev. H.E. Calnan, D.D.


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1. Don't rush your answers. The Priest will be glad to wait for you when he sees that you are taking care. Pronounce every syllable of the Latin carefully and clearly.

2. Don't begin your answer till the Priest has finished.

3. Don't destroy Signs of the Cross. Make two definite straight lines with your right hand; one from your forehead to your heart, the other from left shoulder to your right; not stiffly, but carefully and naturally. It is an action to be proud of.

4. Don't destroy your genuflections. Bring your right knee down to the ground close to your left foot, keeping head and shoulders erect.

5. Don't rush about the Sanctuary, and don't dawdle, either. Just go carefully and quietly.

6. Don't be afraid to join your hands properly: palms together, right thumb over left; or if you prefer, clasp one hand in the other, without separating the fingers. And when your hands are joined, keep your forearms horizontal, neither pointing upwards, nor hanging downwards. If one hand is doing something and the other nothing, put the unemployed hand on your heart. (Your heart is not right over to the left).

7. Don't go to the middle just to make a genuflection. Genuflect at the middle only when you are obliged to pass across the middle.

8. Remember, even if the Blessed Sacrament is not on or behind the Altar where you are serving, the server always genuflects. Only the Priest is allowed to bow.

9. Don't clasp your hand right round the cruet when you offer it to the Priest, or, if there is a handle, don't keep the handle pointing towards yourself. Hold the cruet near the base with the tops of your fingers and thumbs.

10. Don't rub the cruet (or your fingers) against the Priest's fingers at the Lavabo (or at any other time). Leave him room to move his fingers.

11. Don't give the Priest anything with your left hand.

12. Don't ring the bell as though it were an alarm. It is a signal. A double ring is sufficient; a single ring might be an accident, and often is; a double ring makes everything clear.

13. Don't fail to watch for the Domine non sum dignus. Remember that the Priest has to say it in a low tone, and if there is a noise, you might not hear him.

14. Don't stretch along the Altar to pour wine into the Chalice. Go quietly up to the side of the Priest. And be ready to do so:-(a) if there are no communicants: as soon as the the Priest has received the Precious Blood from the Chalice; (b) if there are Communions, as soon as you return to the Altar.

15. Don't turn the pages of the Missal to find the place for the Priest at a Low Mass. To have that done for him is the privilege of a Bishop.

16. Don't rest your hands on the Altar. Only the Celebrant may do that, and he only sometimes.

17. Don't lean against the Altar.

(Taken from the Catechism of St. Pius X)

Act of Faith and Adoration.
My Lord, Jesus Christ, I believe that Thou art truly here within me, with Thy Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Humbled in my nothingness, I adore Thee profoundly as my God and my Lord.

Act of Hope.
Since Thou art come into my soul, O Lord, never let me drive Thee away by sin; but remain there always by Thy grace. I hope for this from Thy goodness and mercy.

Act of Charity.
I love Thee, O Lord, my God, with all the love that I can find; and I desire to love Thee ever more earnestly. Make me love Thee above all things, now, always and for ever.

Act of Offering.
Since Thou, O Lord, has given Thyself completely to me, I give myself completely to Thee. I offer Thee my heart and my soul. I consecrate my life to Thee. I intend to be Thine for all eternity.

Act of Petition.
Grant me, O Lord, all the spiritual and temporal favours which Thou knowest will be useful to my soul. Help my parents and relations; help those who help me; help my friends and my superiors. Release the Holy Souls in Purgatory.


1. Pronounce each vowel carefully.

  • A as in bah; Amen is ah-men.
    E like ay in bay. Meam is may-ahm
    (ae and oe sound like plain e; laetificat is lay-tificat.
    coelum is chay-lum.)
    I sounds like ee in bee. Laetificat is lay-tee-fee-caht.
    O sounds like o in got. Confiteor is con-fee-tay-or.
    U sounds like oo in room. Juventutem is yoo-ven-too-tem.

2. Words like Ideo, where there are three vowels: pronounce each vowel carefully:-

  • Ee-day-o; not I-doh.

3. The consonants are much as we use them, except:

  • C, when followed by e or i is pronounced ch as in Child. Caelum is chay-loom
    G is as in got, except when followed by e or i when it is pronounced j as in just. Afflígit is afflée-jeet.
    H is not pronounced at all, properly. But no one will worry if you do. Habémus is abáymoos.
    J is pronounced as an English Y. Justum is yoostoom.
    R. This letter is usually rolled, but don't worry if you can't.
    GN when they are together, are pronounced like the ne in new. Dignus is dee-nyoos

N.B. This edition of How to Serve the Latin Mass (5th Edition by Widdowson's 1948), because it was published prior to 1962, may not entirely agree with the rubrics of the 1962 Missale  Romanum.

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