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Ordo Missae of the 1962 Missale Romanum

A Rubrical Guide For Altar Servers

By Louis J. Tofari

 Basic Notes for a Missa Cantata (High Mass)

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In the Sanctuary:

  • The Communion Rail Gate should be fully opened.
  • The proper amount of stools should be set up for the servers (see diagram).
  • There should be nothing on the Altar steps (i.e., bells, cards, etc.).

On the Altar:

The Altar should be prepared as for Low Mass with these additions:

  • The Missal should be opened to the Introit of the Mass.
  • The Chalice should be set up on the Altar, with Corporal unfolded.

On the Credence:

The Credence should be prepared as for Low Mass with these additions:

  • The bells should be on one of the forward corners.
  • The back corners should be empty so the Acolytes may place their candles there.

On the Sedilia:

  • If the Celebrant wears a Cope for the Processional, the Chasuble and Maniple should be set up in vesting order on the Sedilia.

In the Sacristy:

  • The Celebrant’s vestments should be prepared as usual, unless the Celebrant wears a Cope for the Processional.
  • The Acolytes' processional candles should be out and ready.
  • The servers should prepare all other items necessary for their individual positions, e.g., thurible for the Thurifer, etc.


  • MC signals a kneel with two claps, to stand or genuflect with one clap.
  • When with the Crossbearer (Cb) carrying the Cross, the Acolytes never make any form of reverence (i.e., bows, genuflections, etc.).
  • When the Acolytes walk together, they always walk shoulder to shoulder, and when turning, they always turn towards each other.
  • During the incensations of the Altar (except for the Gospel) Acolyte 1 gets the Missal and Acolyte 2 gets the Boat from the MC.
  • During Mass all of the servers stand, except at these times:
    • during the Preparatory Prayers (kneel).
    • during the Gloria when C sits (sit).
    • during the Epistle (sit).
    • during the Credo when C sits (sit).
    • during the Consecration (kneel).
    • during the Second Confiteor (kneel).
    • during the Distribution of Communion (kneel).

Copyright © 2007. Louis J. Tofari. All rights reserved.
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