SUMMARY OF TORCHBEARERS’ ROLE:
- TT carry torches for the entering Procession, the Offertory procession, and the Recessional.
- When holding torches TT stand outside the altar rail, at the opening between the two innermost medallions:
- Candles remain lighted throughout the Mass, whether being held or in rack in Smoke Sacristy
- TT raise and lower torches three times during the Canon of the Mass, following the movement of the Celebrant’s arms as first the host is elevated, then the wine, and finally both.
- When not bearing torches TT stand, sit or kneel near the Bishop’s throne.
Pairs should hold their candles at the same level. If there is a height disparity between partners, the taller partner should accommodate the shorter by carrying his/her candle lower. Hold the candle far enough in front of you so that your knees do not knock into it as you walk.
When carrying a candle, the outside arm is down if you can manage it, but don’t fret over this detail.
TT chairs are on either side of Bishop’s Throne. Do not place anything on the Throne. Hymnals, programs, etc. are to be placed on TT chairs when not in use.
TT face across chancel at all times except during the Gospel Procession and Reading, when they face the Book.
How to genuflect: Put the right knee down and keep your back vertical. (It helps to hold your head straight and gaze at the crucifix on the reredos.)
TT enter with candles and follow CM & choir clergy in procession, preceding the MC. Until the altar rail is reached, TT are facing the altar. They then turn away from each other and move to stand between the two innermost medallions, then again face the altar.
After D ascends altar steps, places Gospel Book, and returns to his/her place, MC cues ALL to genuflect. While SMs ascend altar steps to footpace, TT turn and take torches to Smoke Sacristy and place them in the rack, leaving the candles lighted. They re-enter immediately and stand in front of their chairs on either side of the Bishop’s throne. (Whoever enters first goes to the further chair.)
THE LITURGY OF THE WORD
TT follow MC and AA opposite in that they:
- stand for opening salutation, Collect for Purity, Gloria, and Collect of the day;
- sit for OT, psalm, and NT lessons.
For Gospel: TT stand when MC & Acol do, but remain in place, just turning to face Gospel Book as it is carried out to the congregation and read.
When MC, AA, and D return from Gospel procession and sit for the sermon, TT do likewise, but wait until clergy sit.
For the Nicene Creed, Intercessions, and Confession TT stand and move forward next to bottom step, mirroring MC and AA opposite, i.e. standing when they stand and kneeling when they kneel.
During the Creed there is a genuflection at the mention of the Incarnation. The right knee touches the floor, not the step. At the Confession kneel with the SM, not before them.OFFERTORY
After the Peace, TT exit directly to Smoke Sacristy without genuflecting and pick up lighted torches. At MC’s cue, Th leads TT from sacristy to center of rail. Th moves above rail; TT remain below rail at the same place as for the opening procession, and genuflect with the Th. Th goes to CEL. TT remain in their places.
Th has incense laid on and blessed and returns to center. TT again genuflect with Th, then turn and follow him/her through chancel, left on nave floor and down Epistle-side (South) aisle. Th and TT proceed to West door of the church where the Offertory Procession forms.
TT follow Th in procession, keeping 2-3 pew lengths behind, with candles at matching heights.
When TT reach rail, they go to same places as at opening lineup. After the SMs have received the gifts from the Processors and turn to go up to the Altar, all will genuflect together, watching out of the corner of your eyes so as to keep in sync with others.
CANON OF THE MASS
TT remain standing in their places, holding candles in front of them at the same height as during the opening procession. After the Sanctus and Benedictus the MC will cue all to kneel, and candles are lowered. Hands are holding the torch against the railing. During the consecration, there are three times when TT should raise torches about a foot, then lower them. This movement should occur in sync with the Cel as he raises and lowers his arms: first with the host; second with the chalice of wine; and finally when both elements are raised together at the end of the Canon. (TT never cross themselves while holding a torch.)
TT remain kneeling until after the Prayer of Humble Access. As the Agnus Dei begins, MC cues ALL to rise. TT wait in their places below rail for Th, who proceeds to center. MC cues genuflection then Th and TT exit to Smoke Sacristy, with Th leading the way and TT following, holding candles at original height.
The torches are placed in the rack, without extinguishing candles, and TT re-enter. (Th empties thurible bowl, then enters to receive HC before doing cleanup.)
During Communion, TT remain standing and face the Acolytes. The Cel will come to you with the host, and the Deacon or SD will come to you with the chalice. Do not look at Communicants but gaze straight ahead toward Acol. The Acol generally do the counting at the 9 AM Mass, but in the event you are asked to count, focus on communicants’ folded hands, or back of Cel. to avoid looking at faces.
Blessings are not counted. Count is given to MC at the end of the Mass. If uncertain as to whether to count or not, go ahead and count anyway, as it is better to have duplicate counts than none at all!
POST COMMUNION PRAYER
TT kneel together on bottom step in front of Bishop’s Throne for Post communion Prayer, Blessing, and Dismissal. (Th will generally be there too.)
AFTER THE DISMISSAL
MC cues ALL to rise. TT go immediately the Smoke sacristy to retrieve lighted torches from rack, re-enter, and regular positions in front of the altar rail.
As hymn playthrough concludes, MC cues ALL to genuflect, then while all turn around to face the congregation, the TT turn and face each other.
As the CM & Choir Clergy are leaving their stalls in choir, MC cues TT to meet and move together, following Choir Clergy, as they did during Procession, and proceed to the Baptistry for final prayer.
After the final prayer, candles are extinguished and TT exit, pausing together for Genuflection at the Center Aisle, a Reverence (slight bow) at the side aisle (altar), then continuing out the North Door to the Smoke Sacristy.
After TT return torches to rack and remove their cottas, they assist the MC with the removal of vessels and books from the sanctuary.