Preparation and clean-up, while not a liturgical action per se, do contribute to the atmosphere of prayer, both for servers and congregation. All the rules of liturgical etiquette and deportment are to be observed. The MC is responsible for checking all preparations and supervising the proceedings. Cassock and cincture are worn, and cotta or surplice should be left in smoke sacristy until needed. Hands are to be held joined at the breast. Walk with dignity, but not at a funereal pace. You may speak as duty requires, but speak softly out of respect for both Our Lord in the Reserved Sacrament, and the organist or other musicians who will be performing the prelude and postlude. When walking in pairs, or passing in opposite directions, genuflect together at center, even if you must wait a moment for the other person to meet you. This will convey a greater sense of calm to the congregation than if there is a lot of bobbing-up-and-down.

The vessels for Mass will be set out on the table in the smoke sacristy by the Altar Guild. There will be a chalice covered with ( in order) a purificator, paten, priest’s host, pall, veil, and a burse with corporal and two small purificators. There will be the twin chalices with a small pall over each, a lavabo bowl and towel, a bread box with extra people’s wafers (these may be needed if an extraordinarily large congregation appears) two silver cruets (A should have aqua/water, and V should have vino/wine). The ciborium with the people’s wafers and the flagon of wine to be carried up in the offertory procession as well as a slip listing the available amounts of wafers are left on the sofe in the priests’ sacristy. The verger is responsible for taking them to the baptistry, where he lights the candles there. But it is the responsibility of the MC to see that this is done. After the MC checks all the vessels, the acolytes may take them out and place them on the credence in their customary position. Please make sure that the veil on the chalice does not hang loosely – the bottom of the veil should touch the linen on the credence.

Anytime after the celebrant sets the Missal (labeled 11:00-RITE I), it may be placed on the Missal stand on the table below the credence. The Gospel Book should be set to the appropriate reading and left on sofe above the deacon’s drawer. The lectionary, open to the correct Old Testament lection – verify by consulting the Sunday bulletin – should be set out on the lectern. Check to make sure that the light on the lectern is plugged into the socket on the floor. There should be water glasses in the pulpit, and in front of the innermost epistle side candlestick on the altar gradine. This will not, then, be visible from the congregation. Two hymnals may be set out on the acolytes’ chairs, marked with programs, for the hymn following the Gospel. Two more hymnals, a program, the intercessions folder, and a large edition Prayer Book, marked at the Whole-State prayer, are placed at the stool beside the MC’s chair. The pillow on the table below the credence should be empty awaiting the Gospel Book after the proclamation of the Gospel. Torchbearers may place hymnals out on their chairs. The spine of the book should always face the congregation.

All Saints Chapel needs to be prepared for the distribution of communion by removing the dustcover from the altar after the candles have been lighted. The sextons are responsible for lighting the hanging lamps at the High Altar, the Presence lamp after the Sacrament has been transferred, and the All Saints Chapel sanctuary lamp. The MC should be place the veil over the door to the Sacrament House after the transfer from the Lady Chapel has taken place if the clergy person responsible has not done so. If the Lady Chapel will be used for Communion, then the dustcover there must removed and hidden from sight behind the server’s stall, and ONLY the two lights on the lower gradine lighted. The sexton will also turn off the fire alarm.

During Eastertide, the aspersorium with the aspergillum and a small amount of holy water should be placed on the step nearest the epistle side pavement light. In the event of a procession, the celebrant’s chasuble, together with all three maniples, should be laid over the altar rail; near the sedilia.

After Mass, in the baptistry, the servers give their communion counts to the MC, and servers not carrying cross or candles collect the vestments, which they will place on the chair in priests’ sacristy. Still vested, the subdeacon will walk down the Lady Chapel aisle, go through the Lady Chapel, enter the ambit of the altar at the opening near the sedilia (not center), go to the credence to retrieve veiled chalice, and exit to smoke sacristy. Then the servers appointed to remove the book and replace the dustcover may enter. After the servers appointed to extinguish the candles have entered, other servers may begin to clear vessels from the credence and books from the lectern. The bag in the alms basin goes in the safe in the smoke sacristy. The alms basin should be placed on the chair or the table in the smoke sacristy. Hymnals are returned to the shelf in smoke sacristy. The Missal and the Gospel Book go back in appropriately marked boxes in the sofe together with the lectionary and Prayer Book. When not in use in Mass, the Intercessions Book resides on the vesting altar in priests’ sacristy. The sermon text should be placed on the desk in the priests’ sacristy. Then, assist with cleaning of vessels, as needed. Remember, any vessel or linen that has come into contact with consecrated bread or wine must be rinsed in the piscina.


Candles will ordinarily be lighted and extinguished by two servers, both for gracefulness, speed, and the convenience of avoiding remembering which side has to be done first. To light candles, walk in together, genuflect at center above the altar rail, proceed to the top step (footpace/predella) as a pair, and light the candles closest to the cross and work OUTWARDS (that is, spread the light of Christ). Continue with the pavement lights. Meet at center, descend remaining altar steps, turn, genuflect above altar rail, and exit to smoke sacristy. On the great feasts, the upper tier of office lights is lighted. Because of the extra time and effort involved. these should be lighted first and extinguished last.

The function of the blue cloth (dustcover) is to protect the altar and fair linen from dust and wax, especially that which may fall from a lighted candlelighter. To remove the blue cloth, starting with the Gospel side, pick up each corner of the outside hem and bring it to center. Similarly, bring the fold to the center. Repeat for the Epistle side. Finally, fold the Epistle half onto the Gospel half and remove the cloth from the altar.

After Mass, the two servers appointed wait for the subdeacon to retrieve the chalice. Then, with the server on the left carrying the blue cloth, both go out together to center, genuflect, and ascend the altar steps to the footpace. The server on the right picks up the Missal stand (hold the Missal to prevent its falling), goes to center, genuflects, and exits. The server with the cloth aligns the cross on the cloth with the cross on the fair linen, takes hold of a hem, and pulls it gently along the Gospel side of the altar to spread the cloth. Repeat this action on the other side. Remove the water glass, make a simple bow, exit to the side, and genuflect on the pavement before exiting to the smoke sacristy.

The two servers extinguishing the candles enter, genuflect on the pavement (above the altar rail), split, and ascend to the third step, where they turn out and extinguish the pavement lights. They then ascend to the footpace and extinguish the candles outside to center. Try to stay approximately together, but this should not give appearance of being militarily precise or fussy. When done, make a simple bow to the cross and descend to the pavement, genuflect, and exit to smoke sacristy. One server should extinguish the candles in the All Saints’ Chapel (and the Lady Chapel if used for Communion) after the cloth is spread there.

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Liturgical Customary