MC should be vested no later than 10:30am (half an hour before Mass for weekday evening Solemn Masses): black cassock and cincture; white squarenecked surplice with lace insets (laughably labeled S, M, and L, but realistically sized Large, Extra Large, and Absurdly Large).

[All Saints, High Altar, and footpace candles should already be lit from 9am Mass.] Check that candles are burning OK.

Fresh water glasses in pulpit and on retable (in front of innermost Epistle-side candle).

Lectionary open to Old Testament lesson on lectern (should already be there from 9am Mass but page may need to be reset).

Gospel Book & Altar Book in priests’ sacristy.

BCP and Intercessions book on stool by MC’s chair. Altar book (set to Collect and Proper Preface by MC) on table under credence.

Copy of Mass Leaflet on SD’s chair to follow Psalm.

To credence: 2 chalices, Aqua & Vino, lavabo bowl/towel; veiled chalice w/ 3 purificators.

If Cel and D are not vesting in sacristy by 10 minutes before Mass, MC must locate them. Acolytes must also be present & accounted for no later than 15 minutes before Mass. Any acolytes not present on time must be replaced.

If necessary, MC assigns Communion stations.

MC assigns TT to count High Altar and CR to count All Saints, and assigns cleanup duties as appropriate.

MC checks pulpit to be sure sermon is in place.

In Sacristy:
MC is responsible for maintaining silence both in sacristy and in hallway prior to Mass.

MC distributes cards for the Preparation.

MC must be cognizant of any changes in the Customary and instruct servers accordingly.

MC is last to leave sacristy and makes a final check.

MC precedes SMs. ALL enter in procession and take their places at altar steps.


MC cues ALL to genuflect after the Deacon places the Gospel Book and returns to his place, and the CEL is in his place.

As SMs ascend altar steps to footpace, AA, Th, and MC proceed single file to sedilia/credence.

Usually, altar is censed during Introit. MC cues Th to bring thurible to CEL on footpace.

MC puts Altar Book on Epistle horn of altar immediately following censing of CEL.

Acclamation, Collect For Purity, Kyrie Eleison:
MC stands in place near credence.

Gloria in Excelsis:
MC signals SD and D to go up to footpace on the words, “Gloria in Excelsis Deo/Glory be to God on High”.

See Appendix for seasonal variations to Opening Rite.

Salutation and Collect of the Day:
MC ascends to side step, and may point to the correct Collect with the right hand, while CEL intones Collect, and turns and descends with SMs after Collect is concluded.

First Lesson and Psalm:
ALL sit. MC sits next to D.

Second Lesson:
ALL sit.

As Th enters from smoke sacristy, MC signals AA to meet Th at centre. MC cues AA and TH to genuflect. After incense has been laid on and D has received blessing from CEL, MC follows D out to pavement before altar. ALL stand facing altar:


MC cues ALL to genuflect.

Gospel Procession:
MC leads Gospel Procession to the middle of the nave.

Order: MC AA Th SD D.

MC indicates place for SD to stand, then moves beside right-hand A.

After Gospel, SD takes Gospel Book back to CEL (usually at sedilia). MC follows, leading procession back. When Gospel Procession returns to pavement before altar, MC cues all to genuflect. MC, D, and AA retire to sedilia/credence.

MC receives Gospel Book from SD and puts it in bookstand, and gets intercessions book.

ALL sit.

Nicene Creed:
MC gives BCP and Intercessions book to D and cues ALL to stand. SMs go to pavement before altar. AA, MC and TT stand at bottom steps on either side.

Prayers of the People and Exhortation:
ALL remain standing.

General Confession and Absolution:
ALL kneel.

MC receives BCP and Intercessions book from D.

Offertory Anthem:
MC may have to prompt TH to enter with TT. TH has incense laid on and departs; D goes to prepare vessels on altar; CEL and AA sit. D returns and sits. MC should remain standing, and move toward altar rail to watch Offertory Procession.

When the Procession is ready, MC signals Choir to begin Offertory Sentence, and signals SMs to go to gate.

After the offerings have been received, MC cues TH, TT and Processors to genuflect.

SMs take offerings to altar. AAs receive bason and hand off water cruet to SD. (See AA notes.)

MC and Th go up to altar together, MC on Th’s left. MC removes Altar Book and goes down to stand on pavement near Aumbry during censing. MC returns Altar Book to altar as D begins to cense CEL. MC remains on Gospel side on pavement until sanctuary censing has been completed and TH goes down to choir.

MC returns to Epistle side, genuflecting at centre, and arranges cushions on bottom step for AA and TH. Order (from left to right): A A TH MC. If it is necessary to lay on more incense after TH returns from censing the congregation, this should be done discreetly during the Sursum Corda.

Salutation and Sursum Corda:
ALL remain standing.

At the words, “Therefore with Angels . . . ” MC signals SD and D to go up to footpace.

Sanctus and Benedictus:
ALL remain standing. Bow with SMs for the first couple of phrases of the Sanctus (watch SMs for cues).

MC signals all servers to kneel.

Lord’s Prayer, Fraction and Prayer of Humble Access:
ALL remain kneeling.

Agnus Dei:
As choir begins Agnus Dei, MC signals ALL to stand and TH and TT to genuflect before exiting. MC and AA retire to credence; “downstage” A brings chalices up to Altar.

Invitation to Communion and Communion:
ALL stand in their places.

During Communion, MC is watchful and prepared to give any kind of assistance needed.

Ablutions (Motet being sung):
MC brings water cruet up to altar and signals AA to stand at Epistle horn and receive cleansed vessels (ciborium and flagon and extra chalices). “Upstage” A receives veiled chalice from SD and places on credence.

Postcommunion Prayer:
MC ascends to side step while CEL reads Post-Communion Prayer. After CEL finishes the prayer, MC picks up missal stand and takes it down to credence table, then kneels for the Blessing and Dismissal.

Blessing and Dismissal:
ALL remain kneeling. After Dismissal, MC cues all to rise and AA to join CR. Others line up on pavement:


MC cues ALL to genuflect on first word of last hymn. Then ALL turn and face the people for Recessional.

Order: ACrA Choir Verger Choir Clergy Th TT MC SD D CEL.

Exeunt omnes, singing lustily, usually to baptistry.

After Mass Cleanup:
MC is responsible for supervising all sanctuary cleanup including lectionary, pulpit, All Saints, Lady Chapel, and High Altar. MC must be certain that sermon has been replaced on desk in sacristy, all water glasses removed, all candles extinguished, credence table is empty, and sanctuary is left in perfect order. MC gets counts of Communions from TT and CR and records in register along with attendance figure (on slip from offering bason). MC is responsible for counting Communions of servers.

Ite, missa est!

APPENDIX: Seasonal Variations

No Gloria; altar censed during Introit as usual.

Add to Preparation: chasuble [and maniples] laid over altar rail on Epistle side.

Remind CR to collect copes of choir clergy after Procession and to collect CEL’s cope at Offertory.

Enter in silence, short way from North door.

Line up at altar steps as usual; genuflect after D returns from placing Gospel Book on altar.

Th has incense laid on and goes to choir floor behind A CR A; D turns to bid procession, then turns back to face altar. MC cues ALL to genuflect as hymn play-through begins.

Altar censed during Gloria.

At Offertory, after CEL has blessed incense, MC assists SD to change CEL from cope to chasuble. CR should be ready to receive cope and remove it to the sacristy. If CR forgets, MC should put cope in Lady Chapel.

Additional Preparations as above for all Processions.

No Gloria.

Litany in Procession – start of Mass as for a Procession.

Cense altar during Kyrie.

No Intercessions or Confession – the Peace immediately follows the Creed.

Add to Preparation: set out holy water bucket on step near Epistle-side pavement candle, and chasuble [and maniples] over Epistle-side altar rail.

Entrance Procession is as usual.

Introit is Vidi Aquam: immediately after SMs genuflect, MC gives holy water bucket to CEL and CEL begins to asperge himself and servers.

MC, AA, Th, and TT remain in entrance lineup until SMs return from asperging congregation.

CEL returns bucket to MC; SMs go up to kiss altar while MC and others retire to places.

Cense altar during Gloria. CEL changes vestments at Offertory, as with a Procession.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Liturgical Customary