Saturday, 29 December 2012

Work in Progress/Reminder to cover certain topics

Hmmmm ....

It seems from time to time some people find my blog looking for specific things. The search terms show up briefly then disappear if new ones with more hits come. So this post will be more like a "checklist" of things to cover so I don't forget them.

If of course YOU have any queries or suggestions do post them. Just note that I don't cover the choir aspects of the Latin Mass and I focus on serving, and I am a layman with some resources and access to a library in Toronto, but I am no theologian or priest, so do have prudence if you want me to cover something. Also, obey my blog rules. I won't accept anonymous comments or snark.

Anyways, here's the checklist so far, starting on this day, Dec 29, 2012:

____      latin responses altar boy

This is what I have so far. Hope to grow the list and come back here from time to time, though I will cover most 
serving things gradually as I move on and do specific Masses and positions. 

Pax, Julian. 

Update Jan 20, 2013

The list grows ...

____      latin responses altar boy  ---> Coming up in starter points III
_____     missa coram sanctissimum   
__Check___     genuflect catholic, genuflection ---> Genuflections were covered in the Starter Points series of posts. 
_____     eucharistic adoration  ---> MIght be covered in Eucharistic benediction/adoration
_____     incense latin mass   --> This will be covered when the thurifer position is completed
_____     asperges traditional latin  --> This will be covered with the Starter Points III and for serving roles with 
              the High and solemn Masses
__Check___     what is the proper way to genuflect   ---> Covered in Starter points I for serving 

Report: Christmas Day Latin Mass at St. Lawrence the Martyr

Hello to all!

I hope that you Christmas was Blessed, Happy with much joy and feasting with family and friends, and beautiful and reverent Christmas liturgies in your parish, be they Novus Ordo or Tridentine Latin Mass. Mine surely was, with a good solid feast, a nice quiet night shift at work (time an a half makes up for the time of the shift, 11pm-7am, ugh!), but most of all what started the day was Christmas Day Mass!

On the invite of my serving ally, Robin Cheung of St. Lawrence the Martyr, Scarborough, Ontario (whom you have seen a few times on here), I was asked to help serve the Latin Mass for Christmas at 1pm at their parish. With my addition to the full roster of servers for the EF Mass there (both frequent and weekend + a returnee from University), we had 6 servers in total, enabling us to satisfy all the positions for a Missa Cantata (even a non-necessary, but generous position of a boat bearer!). Further we had one of St. Lawrence's parishioners who frequents the Latin Mass, Margaret G., graciously provide organ music and cantoring for us, enabling for a true Missa Cantata to take place for that Mass! My position for the Mass was thurifer and Robin was one of the acolytes, with others servers filling roles.

Veteran servers Robin Cheung, acolyte, and our Master of Ceremonies, Brian Izzard, with thurible in hand during practice/instruction prior to Christmas Mass.

The entirety of the Mass was done reverently, with Fr. Steven Szakaczki, Latin Mass chaplain of the parish, as the Celebrant. Fr. Steven's vestments were of the appropriate liturgical colour, white with some Marian Blue and Gold trim. Of interest, these vestments are increasingly special on two levels: First, personal. These Marian vestments were donated to the parish by a deceased parishioner and brother in EF serving, James (a.k.a. Jim) Albert Mullen, R.I.P. In the initial beginnings of the Latin Mass program at SLTM, James played a significant role in serving many of the Latin Masses, before succumbing to illness on May 26 of this past year. He nonetheless valiantly marched on and served despite his ailment. Before his passing, he left a few gifts to the parish, among then his serving robes now donned by Robin Cheung, and the beautiful and elegant Marian vestments in the possession of SLTM.

On a second, theological level, the Marian vestments honour another important person in the Nativity: Jesus' earthly, yet Blessed Mother, the Theotokos (God-bearer in Greek), the Virgin Mary, who bore our Lord in a pain-free childbirth. [edited after completed posting on Jan 10, 2013 from theological investigation] For without the Virgin Mary, who graciously accepted the will of God, during the Annunciation at the heraldry of the Angel Gabriel, there would be no Nativity. Further it was only she, by Immaculate Conception, conceived without Original Sin, who could be the vessel for our Lord. For only a sinless vessel, could contain the Word Incarnate, also sinless, in her womb and birth Him.

Pictured here is the Chalice for Mass with white chalice veil, and the Marian Vestments left by Jim to SLTM, used for the Christmas Day Missa Cantata. The interior of the Gothic chausible is made with blue silk, but the exterior which is visible at the top and the upper left and right sides, is white. You may see somewhat what it looks like completely on Fr. Szakaczki below in the group sacristy picture. 

As a note, for those who may contest `That vestment is blue! That`s a liturgical violation,` the major part of the vestment`s exterior is white, the proper liturgical colour with blue and gold TRIM, therefore a liturgical violation was NOT committed. 

Due to the time of day, the liturgy used was the Third Mass for the Nativity of our Lord. The Mass began with an opening Latin hymn, and a procession with all the altar servers and the Celebrant. The Mass also included a solemn blessing of the Nativity scene in Latin, with accompanying blessed incense using the new thurible/censer gracefully provided to the parish courtesy of a Dr. Kevin. It was a treasure to use this new lightweight thurible with its ornate design. Thank you Dr. for your gift to SLTM.

Does it not remind you of the Papal tiara with its towers of `crowns?` In fact this thurible was (unknowingly) an Eastern Rite thurible which initially contained bells on the chains. It has since been de-belled as shown, for the purposes of the Latin Mass. (Don't worry, the bells are in storage.)  

Robin Cheung, pictured here with the SLTM Nativity Manger that was blessed with incense in Latin during our Mass. Robin is here at the Manger outside of Mass. 

After the Gospel, which was the Last Gospel from the Book of John said at the end of Mass, Fr. Steven gave an excellent homily about the Nativity of our Lord, which actually touched on a number of facets of our society as well. It is these homilies that should be said at Christmas time everywhere in churches. I will recall what I can and how I understood it, though at a future time if he so chooses, Fr. can gladly disperse his homily and I will provide it as I'm certain I misunderstood or am not giving all the proper points here. 

What I can recall, is that he opened the sermon by commenting on the situation of our world with regard to its increasing atheism and relativism, which has been increasing in recent times, including attacks on the Christian/Catholic faith during this Advent Season. In this vein, he wanted those in attendance to think what our world would be without Christianity, particularly at this time of year. People would just simply be working and going about themselves with nothing particularly special this time of year. Further, our economy uses Christmas for sales and it wouldn't be as prosperpous (including providing people with seasonal employment who need work), though obviously Fr. is not promoting or encouraging greed. People would simply be working another day, instead of spending time with their families and honouring the nativity of our Lord. (I could not help but think of my colleagues at work, who could not afford time to be with their families due to their work scheduling, or who make the sacrifice for others to be with theirs on these days.)

He also discussed the impact that Christianity has had on our world to further emphasize the importance of the birth of the Christ child. For starters, Christianity has given the world many different accomplishments in the areas of the arts, but especially the sciences. Generally, the Church and Catholics have not shied away from the sciences. Specifically, with our modern scientific advances in genetic counselling and scientific/molecular research, where would we be without Gregory Mendel, the famous Augustinian monk who discovered the initial principles of genetics, with his crossing of different strains of pea plants? In addition, Christianity has led to the betterment of the condition of humanity. Due to Christianity, the first schools of higher learning came about, and this is the basis for the modern day university system for post-secondary education. Further, schools for children and youth were also brought about in the missionary work of orders of priests and religious (including nuns), and another institution also emerged from their efforts: The hospital system.

Tying the veins of family, the importance of the Christian Faith, and Jesus' nativity, Fr. also commented on the situation of Christianity's impact on the family and modern man. For starters in the time before Christ, while yes there was the Jewish religion, the majority of the world still did not exactly have the most moral mindset with regard to families and women, particularly if you were not of the elite classes in society (including the Romans). Christianity had a significant impact in bring that moral compass to those areas of human social conduct and justice, increasing the role of the family and respect of woman in society at all levels (not just in the ruling elite or wealthy). Both back then, as well as for those today, who are Christian but especially more so Catholic, it is those who practice the faith that are less likely to engage in immoral conduct and crime, and orient themselves to be more productive members of society and charitable to their fellow man and woman. Those who are of a practising religion, but especially Catholicism, generally have a more positive and altruistic outlook on life and are more satisfied externally and internally. Statistically, it is those families who are practising Christians, especially Roman Catholic, whose families bear children and are the least likely to divorce/separate.

It was at this point in the homily, when Father began to delve into the theological aspect of the homily, it was my duty as thurifer to prepare another heated coal for the thurible as it would be in use again at the offertory, and had to return to the sacristy (after genuflecting to the tabernacle and altar). Even altar serving guides say once a significant portion of the homily (1/3 to 1/2) has passed, to go and prepare a new coal. Thus I was not able to hear the 2nd half of the homily. I will provide it in future in full if it is released, but regardless, what I and the rest of the people heard was exceptional and invigorating to us as Catholics on this Nativity. All those outcomes in 2000+ years of this world's existence, from a lowly babe in a manger ... who later revealed Himself to us as not just a lowly human, but the Word Made Flesh and our Salvation.

Regardless the rest of the Mass proceeded accordingly and smoothly, and a wonderful liturgy befitting of the Lord took place in that lovely parish in the East End of our archdiocese. In attendance was a sizeable crowd for the Latin Mass, a good 100-130 people by visual estimate (40-65 people per side x 2) for the 1pm Christmas Mass. This congregation contained people of varying ages, old, young, some children, and even some young adults!

If you did attend, be that you a regular SLTM or Latin Mass-goer at another parish, or decided on something different for such a special (and obligatory) holy day, thank you. If this was your first Latin Mass, I do hope that it was reverent and brought you to the Lord, and that you will re-consider the Latin Mass again in future, be it Low, High, Solemn, with a parish or a lay-organization, etc. Just do consider re-attending and partaking in a diocesan, valid AND licit, Mass of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

Pax Tibi Christi, and a Joyous and Blessed Happy New Year/*Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Julian.

EDIT NOVEMBER 29, 2012, 1118 EST

I have made a couple of punctuation additions/corrections and added a couple of pieces of text.

Also, after the Mass in the sacristy (post dismissal prayer for the servers from Fr.,) we had a picture taken of the inferior and superior ministers courtesy of Robin`s phone and another parishioner (Thank you!). It's blurry from motion (sorry) but nonetheless it`s the full team of SLTM servers + I (that pasty faced, shiny black haired fellow to the right) and our celebrant, Fr. Szakaczki. One can now see the Marian Gothic chausible worn by Fr. S. when not laid out. It was such a joyous occasion that I left with such Christmas warmth from. God Bless!

* P.S. You must go to a Mass either on the Eve or the actual day of January 1, the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Canada. This is a day of obligation as dictated in Canada for all Catholics. You can do this either in the Ordinary Form or the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, or in another canonically valid and licit rite of the Church (e.g. Byzantine/Ukranian Rite).

UPDATE Jan 2, 2012

Robin provided me with the name of our Cantor/organist for the Mass, Margaret G. I finally caught that in one of my e-mails the past few days. Thank you!

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

To all those who frequent this serving blog, I wish you a Solemn, Blessed, and Joyous Xmas on this Feast of the Nativity, in celebration of our Lord who died and was resurected for our eternal salvation.

Merry Christmas everyone. Do not forget to consider going to a Latin Mass in your area to meet your obligation.

Taken from 

Pax Tibi Christi, Julian Barkin. Anno Domini 2012. 

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Extra! Extra! More Low Latin Masses for St. Lawrence the Martyr Catholic Church, Scarborough, ON During Advent/Octave of Christmas! This Week Only!!!

Hello everyone.

Newsflash! One of my fellow altar servers, Robin Cheung, Veteran server of St. Lawrence the Martyr, just sent me this message asking me to serve other Masses this week:

Julian Barkin: Fr. [Steven Szakaczki] said that this week he'd have 7am AND 11am Masses (11am Masses to be said by Fr. Gavigan)-- ..."   
While I cannot serve due to work commitments and other commitments on Thursday, this is still EXCELLENT NEWS! The extra 7am/11am masses will be on Christmas Eve Monday, Boxing Day Wednesday, and Thursday in the Octave of Xmas. So now here is the updated Latin Mass Schedule for this week up to Holy Family Sunday for St. Lawrence the Martyr, Scarborough:

Monday December 24, 2012: 7am Low Latin Mass (Fr. Szakaczki) and 11:00am Low Latin Mass (Fr. Liam Gavigan) : "Vigil  of the Nativity" - 1st class feast.
Tuesday December 25, 2012: 1pm Christmas Obligation Mass/Feast of the Nativity. 
Wednesday December 26, 2012: 7am Low Latin Mass (Fr. S) and 11:00am Low Latin Mass (Fr. G)
Thursday December 27, 2012: 7am Low Latin Mass (Fr. S) and 11:00 am Low Latin Mass (Fr. G)
Friday December 28, 2012: 7pm Low Latin Mass (Fr. G as usual)
Saturday December 29, 2012: 10am Low Latin mass (Fr. G. as usual)
Sunday December 30: Feast of the Holy Family: 1pm Sunday Obligation Mass. 

PLEASE ATTEND THESE EXTRA highlighted LITURGIES IF YOU CAN! You can also consume the Eucharist 2x in a 24 hour period under Canon Law and the more Latin Masses the merrier. 

Pax Tibi Christi, Julian Barkin. 

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Christmas Day Latin Masses in the Archdiocese of Toronto (including outskirts)

Hello Everyone.

I didn't even know this was being circulated, but perhaps this is also a self-created document. Regardless, credit is due to the Toronto Traditional Mass Society for these listings:

However, one must inquire about the church of the Infant Jesus, Zephyr Mass. This mass is in the evening at 8pm. If the actual liturgy used for the 24th is the "Vigil of the Nativity" as outlined in the EF/1962 missal, then this would not suffice for the Christmas Mass as the Xmas liturgy is not being used. The proper liturgy must be used for the solemnity/feast day for that Mass to be for said solemnity or feast. However, if any of the "Nativity of our Lord" liturgies are used and the Mass is simply titled a "Vigil", then this would satisfy the Obligational requirement under Canon Law 1248-1.

"Can. 1248 §1. A person who assists at a Mass celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the feast day itself or in the evening of the preceding day satisfies the obligation of participating in the Mass.

If one is absolutely screwed for the obligation on Christmas Day for valid reasons, then to avoid all controversy or quell your anxiety, one should go to a Novus Ordo Christmas Eve Vigil Mass which will satisfy the obligation. DO NOT ARGUE with me on this one. I WILL NOT TOLERATE LITURGICAL PHARISEE-ISM from Extraordinary Form aficionados! If you want to rant about it, take it elsewhere. 

However in a worst case scenario, should you be in an essential service job (e.g. medicine, paramedic) and you ABSOLUTELY got screwed this holiday by your boss, and cannot trade or give away the shifts on both days as well as New Year`s Day (Solemnity of the BVM), then ask your priest/bishop for a dispensation from the obligation under necessity and your essential profession (cause someone will be ill or have a heart attack over the holidays, not to mention illness generally increases due to the excessive wining and dining, and even stress! They need you!)

Under the Novus Ordo, they use the `Christmas: The Nativity of the Lord: Vigil Mass.`` Liturgy, which is the first of the three liturgies in the N.O. The OF has the three liturgy set-up, taken directly from how the EF has the Mass at Midnight, the Mass at Dawn, and the Mass during the Day. Thankfully this did NOT change post Vatican-II. This Liturgy IS a XMAS liturgy, not an XMAS EVE/Dec 24 Liturgy so it is the proper liturgy to use. 

I also have in addition to this a full schedule from St. Lawrence the Martyr for their Masses in Holy Week, including New Years Day. These Masses will be either Low Masses with music, or possibly Missa Cantata depending on if a cantor can be found, and the number of servers. 

Pax, Julian. 

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Small report: TTMS Rorate Mass from Dec 15 Early Morning

Hello All.

The Toronto Traditional Mass Society organized a special, early morning Latin Mass in co-operation with St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Kinkora, Ontario (NOT the Down-town Toronto one) last morning, Dec 15, 2012 at 530AM.

They have produced a report on the Rorate Mass here: . More pictures can be found on their facebook page "Latin Mass Toronto."

Pax, Julian.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Small update: Just hit 1000 hits

Wow. 1000 hits in three and a half months. Great! Thanks for the viewings. Pax, Julian.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Off the Beaten Path: Traditional Catholicism is Trendy! So says the Economist

Hello viewers.

I came across this article from the Economist about the general growth of the Latin Mass worldwide, though the focuses on more specific statistics in Britain. This is making its way around the Latin Mass/Conservative Catholic blogosphere. Nevertheless, it discusses the trend of growth in the Latin Mass. I decided to post the Fr. Zuhlsdorf version here, because his commentary is insightful, humourous, and poignant. Here's the link to the Fr. Z commented version of the article:

Pax, Julian.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Small Update: New serving post on some general things all servers should know

I noticed I did two posts back to back in relatively short time. While my TTMS report one showed up on Society of Canadian Catholic Bloggers, my second serving post did not. Here is the link for it:

Enjoy, Julian.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Small Update: TTMS now has report on Immaculate Conception Mass Dec 8 2012

Hello All.

The TTMS under David Antholy Domet has now released a report on the Dec 8 2012 Immaculate Conception Mass held by the Toronto Traditional Mass Society in Mississauga.

Here it is for those who are interested:

Pax, Julian.

Starter Points II - General Actions Servers Will Do (1 of 3)

Starter Points II - General Actions Servers Will Do (1/3)

Hello Everyone, 

This is the 2nd of my Starter points postings before I start delving into specific roles and EF Mass levels for all positions. Now that your mind is like a sharpened sword it is time to actually put yourself to use for serving the EF Mass. There are a number of general actions and things pertinent to all servers, regardless of the Mass Level done, and other skills for when you actually use specific items. 

General Poses, Bows, Movement, Etc. 

Sign of the Cross

Figure 1. Demonstration of making a TRUE sign of the cross. (36, Learning to Serve A Guide for Altar Boys)

So you may be asking, do I really have to teach this? "I've been doing this since I was a child" right? Well you might want to think again. Do you rush your sign of the cross? Did you see that this server has his left hand on his breast? Well skimming your SOTC in the EF won't cut it!

The way to do it in the EF, and should be done all the time, is:

  • Keep the left hand flat and on your chest at all times. 
  • Bring the right hand palm open fingers extended out and touch the forehead (1) at  in nomine Patri
  • Bring the right hand down in a straight line, not fast, but at a nice speed, at et filio. (2)
  • Bring the right hand to your left shoulder at et spiritu ... (3)
  • now bring it to the right shoulder at a gradual speed at .... sancti, Amen. (4)
As to when to do this large crossing outside of the beginning and end of Mass, that will be covered with the individual Mass level known as the Low Mass.

During the Gospel
What is done during the Gospel is the same thing as in the Novus Ordo ... the three small crosses with your thumb of your right hand. You apply the same thing with the left hand as if it were a large crossing, that is you put it flat on your chest, and make the three crosses at the name of the author of the Gospel. You also say "gloria tibi domini" which is the Latin for what you say in English "Glory to you, O Lord."

Basic Positions
The Orans Position

So first and foremost, you, the EF server, have a default position when serving, be it kneeling or standing or bowing. That "stance" as it will, is your "Orans" position. Think of it like your basic horse-stance in Karate or fighting -ready stance in any martial art. From this stance you move, carry out motion, etc. in your duties, not to mention show reverence to our Lord at all times (and look reverent and holy, in service to the Lord, to the Laity). This is what the stance looks like from the book "Learning to Serve" by Fr. Charles Carmody

Figure 2: Basic Orans Position (32, Learning to Serve ...)

As you notice here, there are a number of things about the stance of importance:

HANDS: The most important feature, of which it is named "orans" are your hands. With regards to them:

  • Your hands are folded, palms laid flat against each other, with your fingers extending from the breast/chest at a 45 degree angle. 
  • Your hands are not to be too high or low. Don't let them droop or go near your mouth. (31-32, Learning to Serve A Guide for Altar Boys)
  • Your right thumb is to be "crossed" over your left thumb, or placed on top of it to make what looks like an "X".
    • WHY? Surinder S. Mundra, professional organist and pianist, and accomplished Gregorian choirmaster (& organizer) of St. Patrick's Gregorian & St. Issac Jogues Pickering Gregorian Choirs, states that the thumb cross is a sign of reverence. We as servers should be constantly meditating on the Crucifix (and thus our Lord's Passion, Death, and Resurrection)/Eucharist while we are serving. (personal communication, August 8, 2011)

Other parts of the body function as follows:
  • HEAD: The head is kept straight with the eyes looking slightly down. (31, Learning to Serve ...). However, don't look like you are doing a moderate/profound bow with the head and looking at your hands. 
  • BODY: The body is erect and the shoulders thrown back (31, Learning to Serve ...). No slouching or hunchback!
  • FEET: The feet are kept together, except when in motion. When you are in motion, walk slowly and evenly. Don't wobble like a mound of gelatin/Jell-O (TM) (31-32, Learning to Serve ...)

Sitting Position
There is not much to sitting as an EF server, but to mention the following. If you are not holding a missal/missalette/Ordo in your hand to read the Scripture and its English/vernacular translation, your hands are to remain open and flat on your knees, your back is straight, and your head is erect and looking straight ahead at the altar. (e.g. Sermon). This is what it looks like from Carmody:

Figure 3: Sitting position for an EF (and should be an OF too!) altar server. (46, Learning to Serve ... )

While sitting, do attempt not to let your imagination run wild, and focus on everything around you. You may be required during a certain prayer to stand, kneel, or bow your head slightly while sitting. In addition, keep focus so you don't miss your cues in your serving position to do what you must at that part of the Mass. 

Kneeling Position
When you are to kneel, you do so on both knees, keeping your back erect and your buttocks off the back of your legs. If you are not carrying an object in your hands, then you are to keep them in the orans position at all times. While this should be enough to get the idea, I will take the courtesy of applying another Carmody picture:

Figure 4: Kneeling position for an EF (and should be an OF too!) altar server. (46, Learning to Serve ... )

Also while kneeling you might be required to do one of the three types of bows I will mention below. Do not let your hands go out of the orans position while kneeling. 

Types of Bows
Simple/Slight/Head bow -
Figure 5. Head bow from Carmody (41, Learning to Serve ...)

The Simple/Slight/Head bow is a simple one, made with lowering the head down slightly. The majority of the bows made by the inferior ministers are of this type (37, The General Principles ...). The shoulders are not moved. Don't jerk your head quickly! Do it slowly but not too slowly. (40, Learning to Serve ...)

When should one do the Simple Bow? From Louis J. Tofari`s The General Principles of Ceremonies of the Roman Rite (37-38):

  • When our Lord, Jesus Christ`s, full name is mentioned, whether the title of Lord is added. ``Christ`` alone does not merit a simple bow. This would include if it is used in the Epistles/Gospels. 
  • During the Gloria Patri, up to "sicut erat."
  • During the Gloria at these words: "in excelsis DEO (Deo only), adoramus te, gratias agimus tibi, Jesu Christe (see above), suscipe deprecationem nostrum, Jesu Christe (see above). 
  • Every time the celebrant invokes ``Oremus``
  • For the mane of Mary (the Mother of God) and the name of the Saint of the day. If however the name of another Mary occurs, or another saint of the same name, a bow is not made. Likewise, donèt bow if the name of the saint is mentioned in the title of the Epistle or Gospel on their feast day (e.g. don`t bow at Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John at the announcing of their Gospel. The crosses are the proper action). 
  • During the Credo at these words: in Unum Deum (AT Deum), Jesum christum (if kneeling, a moderate bow is made while the celebrant genuflects while saying Et incarnatus est), and simul adoratur
  • During the Preface at: gratias agamus Domino Deo Nostro (At Deo Only)
  • During the entire recitation of the Agnus Dei
  • At the name of the pontiff, our Holy Father. [As of present, this is Benedictus XVI.] 
  • For the name of the local ordinary on the anniversary of his election and consecration. [For the archdiocese of Toronto, this is Thomas Collins who according to the diocesan website was consecrated/ordained to the Episcopate (or rank of Bishop) May 14, 1997. So on May 14 should a Mass be celebrated, you will bow at the mention of his name in the 2nd part of the Mass]. 
  • During the Season of Lent for the Oratio super populum: A simple bow is made when the celebrant says Oremus, then again when he says Humiliate capita vestra Deo and holding the position until the prayer is concluded by the celebrant: "Per Dominum ..."

      There are also times when acting with sacred ministers that the server shall do a simple bow:

  • Presenting the epistolaruim or the evangeliarium
  • Presenting the crutes at the Offertory
  • Any kind of Lavabo (washing of hands)
  • Presenting the pax brede (Sign of peace, kind of like a fraternal bear hug) to someone in choir
  • During the Ablutions 
  • Reciprocating a bow to another minister of equal or higher rank if you are equal in rank or junior. 
  • By the thurifer before he incenses an individual or a group, bowing first before the incensing, and after once done the action. 

Moderate/Shoulder Bow -
Figure 6. Shoulder bow from Carmody (41, Learning to Serve ...)

Both the head and shoulders are bent slightly. Again not to deeply, but proceed to bow at a gradual pace (40, Learning to Serve A Guide for Altar Boys). The Moderate bow is employed according to Tofari (40, The General Principles ...):
  • Ex actu functionalis, to an altar where the Blessed Sacrament is not reserved. [Editorial note: If the church you have to serve at gave into the banality of the tabernacle not in the center of the Church, which is not indicated in Vatican II's documents, you would do a single genuflection at the altar regardless of the lack of the tabernacle there in the center.] 
  • When kneeling, for words said aloud by the celebrant that require a genuflection for those standing (e.g. during the Credo at Et incarnatus est, for Flectamus genua on some Ember days and Lenter ferials).
  • For the four genuflections of the Consecration action [before and after each raising of the host and wine to become the Body and Blood of Christ, the priest will make these single genuflections.]
  • During Benediction when kneeling under the condition of coram Sanctissimo:
    • Before rising to impose incense into the thurible
    • Before and after incensing the Blessed Sacrament
    • During the hymn Tantum ergo at the words, veneremur cernui
Profound/Heavy/Deep Bow
Figure 7. Deep bow from Carmody (41, Learning to Serve A Guide for Altar Boys)

This bow is dome from the waist (41, Learning to Serve ...). This bow is done by bowing head and shoulders at a 90 degree angle  This is done on specific occasions as an inferior minister (41, The General Principles ...):
  • Before and after incensing the celebrant
  • In conjunction with the celebrant (or deacon) before and after incensing the book of the Gospels. 
Genuflections (Including general Times to do so)
This is done generally, with no specific instances when:
  • You process up the center of the body of the Church to the altar, done in synchronization/unison with the server beside you, or the priest
  • ALWAYS, when you cross from one side of the altar to the other, due to the presence of the tabernacle. No central tabernacle due to sad "Spirit of Vatican II" altar arrangements? You STILL do a single genuflection to the center of the altar as it is out of reverence for where our Lord's presence will be during the Mass.
  • Leaving the sanctuary to go into the sanctuary for whatever reason, even to blow your nose in tissues. You also do this upon returning to the sanctuary
Tofari in The General Principles ... (42-44) further adds:
  • Specific objects that get a genuflection are: The Blessed Sacrament, a 1st class relic of the Passion exposed (e.g. an actual piece of the true cross, one of the Holy Nails or Thorns), a principal altar, and the cross during veneration on Good Friday
  • When approaching or leaving the view of the altar
  • When standing, for a word or phrase said aloud that requires a genuflection
  • When the special rules for coram Sanctissimum apply. Translated means in the presence of the Most Holy, referring to when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed
  • On Good Friday, to the cross from its veneration, inclusive to the Vigil of Holy Saturday, as this entire period is treated as in actu functionis, meaning "in the act of function" when a liturgical action is taking place, such as the Mass or the Triduum services. 

Types of Genuflections
Single Genuflection  

Figure 8. Single Genuflection using one knee (41, Learning to Serve ...)

The single genuflection is simple. One goes down on their right knee, keeping the left one upright, from a standing position. The server gets back up, but not like a spring, that is, quickly. Nor slowly (with exception to medical issues). The orans prayer position is maintained and the body remains straight. We do not make the sign of the cross in addition to the genuflection, as the genuflection itself suffices.   

Double Genuflection - 
Figure 9. Double Genuflection on two knees with moderate bow (41, Learning to Serve ...)

This is a more profound genuflection, which starts from the single genuflection position. This genuflection involved both knees planted on the ground, the servers' hands still in the orans position (unless carrying an object) and a moderate bow is made. 

Since the double is not often used, Tofari (46-47, The General Principles ...) states that this less frequent type of genuflection is done by inferior minsters:
  • When the condition Coram Sanctissimo exists with the blessed sacrament exposed, it is done 
    • Outside liturgical functions/Ex actu functionis: when leaving or coming to the view of the altar, in the center of the altar, passing it "at the side,"or before ascending and after descending from the predella (actual altar steps) 
    • During functions (e.g. Mass, Adoration and Benediction) or In actu functionis: Crossing the altar, coming or leaving the center to go to an outside point, on the sanctuary floor (in plano) before ascending, and after descending from the predella. 
- Whenever servers are walking, they should be not rushed, nor slow in their pace. They should be ever mindful of their presence in the sanctuary and in the House of the Lord. 
- When being paired up with another server (e.g. as acolytes, torch bearers ...), you should be of similar height, and should match each other's speed and actions. Your bows, reverences, walking speed, all should be done at the same speed and also at the same time. 
- NEVER, when walking, turn your back on the Blessed Sacrament. That includes going up and down steps. You may have to side-step or turn a certain way to avoid such a fault.  

Using Liturgical Items Generally (not Specific to Roles)

General Principles
Holding and Giving/Taking Items
- In general, when one is handling an item, they are to put it in the right hand only and to give it to the priest or other minister's right hand. I cannot explain why.
- The person will also receive whatever is being given to them in the right hand only.
- If the person must receive two objects (e.g. solo Low Mass server with cruets), then they take the first item with the right hand, transfer the first item to their left, and receive the 2nd item with their right hand.
- With certain items one will have to do a simple bow before and after (see simple bow under genuflections).
- Also on certain occasions, when dealing with the priest (Low and High Mass, and possibly Solemn and Pontifical depending on your role), you will have to kiss the item. (see kissing items below)

Kissing Items (Solita Oscula - ``With the usual kisses``)
- Kissing the item, or solita oscula in the Latin, is done generally, whenever items are presented to the celebrant/Priest.
- One kisses the items "... out of respect to the celebrants's anointed hands which are a source of blessing." (48, The General Principles ...).

- The general rules of the kissing are (48, The General Principles ...):

  • Giving Objects: You are to kiss the object first, then the priest's hand.
  • Receiving: Do the reverse of giving. Priest's hand first, then your received object.  
- The items that receive kissing/solita oscula and where to kiss are (48, The General Principles ...):
  • Biretta: on one of the flat sides.
  • Cruets: on the side of the cruet (but not the lip or handle)
  • Aspergilium: on the handle. 
  • Incense spoon: towards the end of the hanlde
  • Thurible: on the disk where the chains are attached. 

- There are exceptions to the normal rules with specific items (49, The General Principles ...)

  • Blessed candles (on the Feast of Candlemas/Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, February 2): You kiss the candle first, then the celebrant's hand. 
  • Blessed Palm (Palm Sunday): Kiss the palm first, then the celebrant`s hand. 
- Solita Oscula is not performed on the usual items under the following conditions (49, The General Principles ...):
  • Requiem Masses (including the Solemnity of All Souls) and funerals
  • Ceremonies coram Sanctissimo
  • In the presence of a greater prelate (e.g. a bishop is present in the choir, NOT as the main celebrant in a Mass)
  • During the ceremonies of Good Friday
In higher forms of the Mass, you likely will not have to do the kissing because your items will be handed off to the deacon or the Master of Ceremonies. They will have to kiss. 

Specific Items
While candles and torches are for specific roles, with the acolyte candle being used over multiple levels of EF Masses, and the torches only for torch bearers in Solemn Masses or Missa Cantatas (rarely), I have placed the information here because you will eventually have to master being an acolyte as part of your training, or you will start out as a torch bearer should you begin altar serving as one.

Figure 10. Demonstration of carrying acolyte candles. (21, How to Serve in Simple, Solemn, and Pontifical Functions)

Above is a picture from Dom Britt`s book, demonstrating how the acolytes are to hold their candles. When holding the acolyte candles,

- The hand that holds the shaft is the hand of the side you are walking on. If you are walking on the right side of the pair of acolytes, that hand is higher. If you are the leftmost server, you hold the candle shaft with your left hand.

- The hand that holds the base of the candle is the side that is the most inward or closest to the center of the pair of servers. If you are on the right side, you hold the base with your left hand. If you are on the left side, hold the base with your right hand.

- The hand that holds the base of the candle, is to be placed gripping the bottom of the base. YOU DO NOT hold the shaft with both hands.

- If at any time for whatever reason, the servers switch their side in the pair of acolytes, then reverse your hand order to match your side.

[Editor's note. I am only covering how to hold a torch here. I will do the torch bearer role separately in its own posting.]

When one is holding a TORCH as a torch bearer
  • It is treated as a one handed object. 
  • The hand that carries the torch, holds them at the middle. The rule for the acolytes' higher hand, applies here. Anyone on the right side, holds them with the right hand, and the left side with the left hand. 
  • The other hand, is held open and flat against the breast. This is an exception to the rule where usually it is the left hand only that lays flat against the breast. 

Communion Paten
- Like anything gripped with only one hand, you are to keep your left hand held against your chest, palm and fingers flat.
- You handle the paten in your right hand.
- You are to grip it firmly, but not to tight as to break the handle or stress your hand out.
- Hold the paten in your hand horizontally, similar to if you were gripping handlebars on a bicycle.
- Make sure that the plate part is facing upwards! If it looks like an "upside down frying pan" you don't have the right side facing up.

Cruets/Lavabo Bowl/Ablution (Finger) Towel
While not all roles in the Masses will handle the Cruets and lavabo items, I list this generally in this guide because someone, be it yourself in a Low Mass, or the server in the acolyte positions in higher masses, does handle these items. With all items, the general giving, taking, and kissing rules (where performed) apply.

- CRUETS (18, How to Serve ...): Hold them at the base, and the handles are turned towards the left, parallel with the end of the altar or the top step. The handle is not facing the priest. Both cruets are given with the right hand, and the 2nd cruet (if serving Low Mass alone) is transferred to the right hand before giving it. The Kissing/Solita Oscula rules apply to cruets.

- LAVABO BOWL: This is held in the left hand by the acolytes during all levels of the Mass after transfer from the right to the left. You do not kiss this item.

- ABLUTION/FINGER TOWEL: In Masses where two acolytes are present, this is carried by the server who is not doing the water and bowl. In a Mass with a solo acolyte, the ablution towel is to be placed folded over the left arm, which has the bowl in it. This is similar to a towel rack at home, or if you were a servant  presenting a towel for their master's hands (which you in a sense ARE doing, as you are serving the priest who is Alter Christus). However, I have seen a youtube video where either the ablution towel was somehow laid out on the lower right corner of the altar ahead of time, or the purificator was used. Consult your priest/celebrant and ask what they want you to do. Otherwise go with how the priest/the MC/head server has trained you to do.

Bells (New Addition 14/01/2013)
General Information
Bells are quite important in the Liturgy. They signal the beginning of Mass, and in both forms of the Roman Rite, critical points in the liturgy or actions.

While there might be some slight variations in rules for bell ringing during the Mass, there are are some general rules (76, Learning to Serve ...)

  • Your ring should be firm and clear, not choppy
  • Do not pick up the bell before you need to ring it [though picking it up slightly before needing it to be ready should be obvious], or it will ring when it shouldn't. 
  • Do not smother the bell ring by placing it down quickly. Let the tone fade before replacing the bell on the step. 

When should I ring it?
The bells should be rung (23, How to Serve):

  • At the Sanctus.
  • For both Major Elevations
  • Can be allowed to be rung at the Hanc Igitur when the priest spreads his hands over the chalice.
  • Can also be rung during the Domine Non Sum Dignus said by the priest, usually once per D.N.S.D, but it should not be rung when the priest says these words before the distribution of Communion either during Mass or Outside Mass. 

The bells should NOT be rung:

  • During a Low Mass while a High Mass is being sung in the same church
  • Sundays either at the altar of exposition or any other altar when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed
  • When a wedding or funeral is taking place, and you are serving a Mass at a side altar
  • When the office is being recited in choir
  • While the celebrant and sacred ministers are on the way to the altar for a Solemn High Mass, or are returning to the sacristy after it, nor when a procession is happening in the Church. 
Special Type of Bell????
Believe it or not, the EF has a prescribed type of bell by the rubrics of the Church. According to the Ritus Celebrandi VII, 8, the right bell is a small hand bell. Unfortunately, most parishes either don't know this, or go for a cheaper 3-4 belled set up, where the bells are laid out in a straight line or in a cross with a handle sticking out of the top. This diagram will show you the difference and what's the right bell for the EF:

Figure 11. Bell types for the EF Mass. The left bell is the standard type found in most parishes. They are permissible to use, but not rubically prescribed. The bell on the right, the simple hand bell, is the appropriate bell to use for the EF as it is rubically prescribed. 

How to Ring It?
Well you certainly don't want to be a noisy gong with that thing as St. Paul comments on in one of his Epistles. Also there IS a difference in the ring of the bells in the EF than what most Novus Ordo Masses do. Most OF Masses will ring it continuously till the priest puts down the Host/Blood and it will sound like "ding-a-ling-a-ling-a- ......" which in my opinion is quite annoying. In the EF Mass, each ring consists of  two simple tones that sounds like "Ring-Ring."

Robin Cheung, veteran server of the EF at St. Lawrence the Martyr Catholic Church, Scarborough, ON, provides in this video a demonstration of bell ringing in the EF, including how to hold the normally seen type of bell (the 4-bell cross one in figure 11). Robin also gives some verbal cues in this video (when you turn your volume up to maximum) as to how the bell is held at what part of the EF Mass and how to ring it:

Video from Robin's YouTube Channel: Altar Serving: Bell-Ringing 102

END of Starter Points II (1 of 2)

Next posting: Starter Points II - General Altar Knowledge that Servers Will Need (2/2) including setting up the Altar for Mass

Works Cited

Britt, Dom. Matthew. How to Serve in Simple, Solemn, and Pontifical Functions. 3rd ed. Tan Books and Publishers: U.S.A. 2008.

Carmody, Fr. Charles J. Learning to Serve A Guide for Altar Boys. Roman Catholic Books: Fort Collins, Colorado, U.S.A. 1961.

Tofari, Louis J. The General Principles of the Roman Rite for Inferior Ministers. Romanitas Press: Kansas City, MI, USA. 2008.

Mundra, Surinder S. Personal communication. St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Toronto, ON, CAN. August 8, 2011.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Small update: Small Report From Toronto Traditional Mass Society Immaculate Conception Mass

Hello Everyone.

This past Saturday, December the 8, 2012, it was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is in BOTH forms of the Roman rite, the Novus Ordo and Extraordinary Form/The Latin Mass.

One of the lay-organized Latin Mass initiatives, Toronto Traditional Latin Mass (formerly Una Voce Toronto) organized a Solemn Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form in Mississauga at St. Joseph's Catholic Church. Here is the brief report from the president and choirmaster, David Anthony Domet with regard to the Mass, from their face book group page:

"Nearly 500 at the Solemn Mass for Our Lady's Immaculate Conception today at St. Joseph's, Streetsville organised with the assistance of Una Voce Toronto and the Knights of Columbus. After Mass a woman went up to the Pastor and said, "Father, can this happen more often, I thought that I was in heaven." Father replied, "My dear, that is exactly the point." And that friends, after honouring God is why we do this, to edify His people! Our Lady Immaculate, pray for us."

Here is a picture of the three clergy members from the Mass and perhaps what is the Master of Ceremonies, also from their Facebook page:

One can find the link to the Facebook group page, and more information including contact information for the president/organization under my "known Latin mass listings ..." tab on the right. The Facebook page name is "Latin Mass Toronto" though don't let that confuse you.

If anyone else would like to submit a more detailed report/pictures, feel free to send me an e-mail at the listed address in the "contact" page on the right of my main page. 

Pax, Julian. 

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Basic Q and A for the Latin Mass Part II No. 3: Breakdown of the Parts of the Mass

Q and A Part II: What is Going On at the Latin Mass?

No. 3: From the Offertory to the Secret Prayer

NO. 3
II. Mass of The Faithful/Canons
A. Offertory to Preface
13. The offertory verse
14. The offertory of the Bread and Wine
15. The Incensing of the Offerings of the Solemn Mass
16. The Washing of the Hands
17. The Prayer to the Most Holy Trinity
18. The Orate Frates
19. The Secrets

13. The Offertory Verse (Antiphon)

Is this in the Novus Ordo? Yes, though it's not a verse, rather it's an offertory prayer, and well ... not the same as it is said and done in the Novus Ordo.

Cues for the Laity: You are sitting.

General Gist: After the priest does the Dominus Vobiscum, He'll say Oremus and turn to the altar. The Priest says the Verse/antiphon in a hushed/silent tone in the middle of the altar.


  • The offertory marks the beginning of the Mass of the Faithful. 
  • It is a prayer recited by way of preparation for the oblation (119, The Latin Mass Explained). 

14. The Offertory of the Bread and Wine

Is this in the Novus Ordo? Yes. From an altar serving perspective, the carrying up of the other ciboriums, the bread and the wine in cruets, and the lavabo, or washing of the priests' hands are present (note: see how the OF comes from the EF? These actions are but a few minor examples of how the whole OF derives from the EF). 

Cues for the Laity: You will remain seated

General Gist: At this point in the Mass, as like the Novus Ordo, the gifts of the bread and wine are presented on the altar. Prayers and preparations take place, and the altar servers aid in this preparation (as mentioned above), as well as the clergy. During the Low Mass the priest will carry out all necessary preparatory actions. In the Solemn Mass, one will see the distinctions of each clergy member in their actions: The Deacon presents the Paten with the Host upon it to the priest as he cannot consecrate the Host (though he can carry the Holy Eucharist;) the sub-deacon remains further off from the celebrant. In the Solemn Mass, the deacon does the actual pouring of the wine into the chalice, while the sub-deacon will pour the water into the chalice (which is the highest functioning act he does in the Mass) (65, The Holy Mass).

In the Oblation of the Bread:

  • Priest uncovers the Chalice and places it to his right. The chalice veil is removes and the server rings a bell to signal the congregation to unite with the priest in offering to God the gifts of bread and wine (120, The Latin Mass Explained). The pall is taken of the Chalice and stood up against the altar ledge.
  • The Priest takes up the paten with the host and offers it up saying the "Suscipe, Sancte Pater" prayer.
  • He makes the sign of the Cross with the paten, over the corporal (120, The Latin Mass Explained) (a 9-square unfolded cotton cloth), on which rests the host. 

In the Oblation of the Wine:

  • The celebrant goes to the Epistle side of the altar, and pours the water and wine into the chalice from the cruets given by the altar servers (the altar servers kiss these cruets as a sign of love and respect for the sacred minister, the alter Christus.). The priest blesses the water cruet before taking it from the server. The priest says the "Deus, Qui Humanae prayer"
    • Note: In Requiem Masses, the water is not blessed. 
  • The priest returns to the middle of the Altar, the priest takes the chalice and offers it to God. 
  • He makes the sign of the Cross with the chalice, and placing it on the corporal, he covers it with the pall. Bowing down he says the "In spiritu humilitatis" prayer. 
  • The priest will then raise his eyes and extend his hands to ask God to sanctify and bless the sacrifice prepared in the glory of his name (23-25, Latin English Booklet Missal ...)


  • When the host is offered initially to the Eternal Father, it is not consecrated, but this host is immaculatam hostiam (without spot) where allusion is made to the victims [the young lambs] of the Old Testament, which were obliged without blemish, as they were a type of Our Lord, who was one day to appear before us as the Immaculatus. (63, The Holy Mass).
  • The priest mentions in his offering of the bread also pro omnibus circumstantibus, that is on behalf of all here present. He also extends the sacrifice of the Mass to all Christians, living and dead to avail to us and them as a means to procure good things for man, as well as salvation (64, The Holy Mass).
  • When the priest blesses the paten with the sign of the cross and places the Host on the Corporal, it expresses the identity existing between the Sacrifice of the Mass and that of Calvary. (65, The Holy Mass).  
  • When Christ held the Passover Seder and instituted the Eucharist on that night, He himself mixed water with the wine, as the abstemious are wont to do, and the Church continues this custom (65, The Holy Mass).   
  • The priest blesses only the water cruet, because 1) the wine represents Christ, Who needs no benediction. The water represents human nature, which, with its frailties, has great need of God's blessing. (121, The Latin Mass Explained; 67-68, The Holy Mass). This dual nature is beautifully clear in the Latin regarding Christ`s nature, in the prayer of the co-mingling of the water and wine. It is said ``Deus, qui humanae substantiar diginatem mirabiliter condidisti ...`` translated as ``O God, Who in creating mad didst exalt his nature very wonderfully ...`` This representation is found in the two liquids. 
  • Further in the co-mingling prayer, it is asked that we are made to be participators of the Divinity of the Lord. Thanks to our Lord, Christ, we are able to participate in the Beatific Vision in Heaven where we`ll see God even as He sees Himself, and our state will be that of creatures placed immediately below the Divinity. The Holy church holds this Truth before our mental gaze. (67-68, The Holy Mass).
  • The water is not blessed in Requiem Masses to show that the Church has no authority over the souls in Purgatory (68-69, The Holy Mass).
  • During the ``Offremus`` prayer,  `the Holy church is thinking of that which this Chalice is to become: Christ`s blood. Only the accidents, the species or appearances, will remain [that is, what it physically looks like, and its molecular constitution of atoms in chemistry], but its Substance [what the thing IS] will give place to the Blood of the Lord. (70, The Holy Mass)
  • The next prayer "in spiritu humilitas" has its Biblical origins in the words of the children in the furnace in the Book of Daniel Chapter 3 verse 39 and 40. 
  • The final prayer, a benediction, starting with "Veni Sanctificator`` requests the Holy Spirit to operate in the sacrifice to be offered to the Lord. This is fitting to invoke the Holy Spirit who was involved in the production of our Lord, Jesus in the Virgin Mary`s womb. (73, The Holy Mass). 

15. The Incensing of the Altar in the Solemn Mass

Is this in the Novus Ordo? Rarely. Funerals, only the most solemn vernacular Novus Ordo Masses (of which the degree of solemnity depends on the pastor of the parish), and Latin Novus Ordo Masses. 

Cues for the Laity: You will remain seated until the altar server comes towards you after descending from the altar. You will stand up when he approaches, and bow with him before and after being incensed. This is only done in the Solemn level of the Mass.

General Gist: After the subdeacon has moved the missal, the thurifer and boat bearer will approach the side of the altar. Incense will be placed into the thurible from the boat that is handed to the deacon by the server. The celebrant will put this incense in. The celebrant will then take the thurible/censer and incense the altar in an orderly manner, including the following items while saying specific prayers: The bread and wine, the Crucifix and the altar itself (reciting psalm 140). If a bishop is present, He is incensed first to respect the hierarchy of the Church of which Jesus Christ is the head (where the Pope down to its Bishops are its Magisterial wielders). The priest will be incensed by the deacon with 3 double swings, the deacon with two double swings, the master of ceremonies with one double swing, and a single swing for each acolyte OR if groups of acolytes are together (e.g. a group of torch bearers), they will receive the same swings as the people: One swing to the center, one swing to the Epistle side (right) and one to the Gospel side (left).


Like in the first incensing of the Mass and before the Gospel:

  • When the incensing of the altar occurs at the Solemn Mass, this takes one back to the Old Testament, Leviticus, when it is mentioned that incense was used in divine worship. The New Testament biblical reference for incense in the Mass comes from the book of Revelation/Apocalypse Chapter 8, verse 3, where he saw an Angel standing, with a golden censer, near the Altar, on which was the Lamb (Jesus) and 24 elders around him. The prayers of the Saints are symbolized by incense. (73-74, The Holy Mass)
  • Since the Mass is our highest form of prayer, under our Holy Mother the Church that wishes to do as Heaven does (13, the Holy Mass) therefore the incense also symbolizes the priest's and our prayers going up to the Saints and the others in Heaven. 
  • When the priest blesses the incense, it raises the incensing action to the supernatural order. (13, The Holy Mass)

In this specific instance of incensing:

  • What is offered unto the living God: the bread and wine, and ourselves - This threefold gift unto God is incensed. We are incensed because all the faithful, through this offertorial act, have become holy unto God (25, Latin-English Booklet Missal... ; 927, The Daily Missal and Liturgical Missal ...)
  • The Holy Church incenses the bread and wine as these gifts are now elevated above the order of common things. To show her reverence for them, Holy Church shed on them the perfume of her incense, as if she were doing so to Christ himself. (74, The Holy Mass). 

16. The Washing of the Hands/The Lavabo

Is this in the Novus Ordo? Yes. In the N.O. this is done after the water and wine, and some prayers of the priest at the altar. The Lavabo is when the priest says "Lord wash away my iniquities, and cleanse me of my sins."

Cues for the laity: Everyone still remains seated.

General Gist: The acolytes take the water cruet and bowl with a finger towel up to the priest on the altar. The Celebrant washes his fingers with the water and dries them off with a finger towel. 

  • The Priest washes his fingers to symbolize the great purity and inner cleanliness of those who offer or participate in this great Sacrifice. (928, The Daily Missal and Liturgical Missal ...)
  • It also is out of a spiritual necessity: the priest must purify himself yet more and more, as he advances in the Holy Sacrifice. One might also think of when the Disciples' feet were washed before institution of the Holy Eucharist that Passover night (78, The Holy Mass). 
  • Appropriately chosen for this liturgical point/action is Psalm 25:6-12, beginning with Lavabo inter innocentes manus meas: et circumdabo altare tuum, Domine." This means I will wash my hands among the innocent: and I will encompass Thine altar, O Lord. This first word in Latin, is what gives this part of the mass its name, the Lavabo. 

17. The Prayer to the Most Holy Trinity

Is this in the Novus Ordo? Yes. This prayer is not sectioned and not obvious, but in every version of the Eucharistic Prayer (1-4) the last two major paragraphs are a Novus Ordo version of this prayer. It starts with "Grant also to us, when our earthly pilgrimage is done ..." and ends with "... all glory and honour is yours, for ever and ever, Amen."

Cues for the Laity: You are still sitting at all levels of the EF Mass.

General Gist: The priest bows down before the middle of the altar and says this prayer. "This majestic prayer of offering to the Most Holy Trinity states in detail the particular purpose for which the holy Sacrifice is offered." (27, Latin-English Booklet Missal ...)

  • When the priest says ... hanc oblationem ... this is referring to a oblation. The oblation is presented to the Divine Majesty. He is presenting the Offering of the Great Sacrifice which is soon to be accomplished. 
  • The Oblation is presented to the Holy Trinity in memory of the Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension of our Lord. (81, The Holy Mass). 
  • In that memory of the Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension the priest is noting in saying this in prayer, without which he wouldn't be complete:
    • Jesus suffered. This wasn't enough alone so, 
    • Jesus died. His suffering and death constitute the Passion. In it he conquered the Devil's triumph over man in Adam's Fall. However, it would have been a true defeat for Christ, had he not:
    • Resurrected. our Lord could not have remained on earth: until He opened Heaven and went there, there was no salvation for us. In doing everything, He attained for us our salvation. (81, The Holy Mass). 
  • The Virgin Mary is mentioned in the prayer. This is because every mass brings glory to Our Blessed Lady, who is, herself, a whole World apart. She is raised even above the Angels because, she is the Masterpiece of God Himself. (82, The Holy Mass). She is rightfully given her due as the theotokos, the "God-bearer" in Greek, whom herself ascended into Heaven free of Original Sin. 
  • John the Baptist is mentioned as he is the precursor to the Lord, and so our Church venerates him (83, The Holy Mass), the one who baptised (with water) and pronounced the coming of the Lord, before He came himself to be baptised. 
  • The saints are also mentioned here, in reference to those Saints' relics who are part of the altar stone by which is placed into the altar, as well as all those who are part of the Holy Mass. (84, The Holy Mass)
  • The rest of the words of the prayer, ``Ut illis ... In terris. Per eundem ...`` acknowledge that 
    • The Mass gives glory to the Holy Trinity, The Blessed Virgin, and the Saints
    • That the Mass is profitable to us in our salvation
    • Acknowledges the memorial of the Saint whose day of commemoration it is, and all the Saints` intercession for us of our prayers in Heaven. 

18. The Orate Fratres

Is this is the Novus Ordo? Yes. This is the "Pray brethen, that my Sacrifice and yours ..." prayer. Thanks to the 3rd translation of the Roman Missal, it's almost a verbatim translation from the Latin. 

General Gist: The priest will kiss the altar, and turn towards the people, saying "Orate, Fratres" out loud, and turn around and say the rest silently. "Feeling his unworthiness, the priest turns to the people and asks for their prayers." (27, Latin-English Booklet Missal ...). You do not do the response as in the Novus Ordo, as that is left to the servers and the fellow clergy at the altar.

Cues for the Laity: In all levels of the EF Mass, you are still sitting.


  • At this point of the Mass, it can be considered that the priest is now, after the Orate Fratres, entering the most solemn part of the Mass, like the priests of old entering the Holy of Holies in the Temple (125, The Latin Mass Explained). 
  • This is in a sense a "farewell" as the priest is turning to the congregation for the last time in the Holy Mass, until the Sacrifice is consumed (125, The Latin Mass Explained; 85-86, The Holy Mass)
  • The priest also mentions (though in silent tone) meum ac vestrum sacrificium "My sacrifice and yours." This denotes one sacrifice for both parties (Priest and Laity), with only the actions separate:
    • Together: The Laity also have a role in the Priesthood, as says St. Peter, calling the Faithful a kingly Priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). (85, The Holy Mass) This has also been reaffirmed in Vatican II: "These faithful are by baptism made one body with Christ and are constituted among the People of God; they are in their own way made sharers in the priestly, prophetical, and kingly functions of Christ: and they carry out for their own part the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the world. ("Lumen Gentium" #31)"
      • In addition, The priest is the direct agent of the Sacrifice, but the people will also inherit the Sacrifice that belongs to them, as Jesus Christ instituted it for their profit (85, The Holy Mass). 
    • Separate (in action only): The priest will be doing the actual consecrations and the like and acting in alter Christus while doing so. He speaks as if Jesus was there during the consecrations. The Laity do not share in doing this specific act on the altar, though they share in the actual Sacrifice as mentioned above. How they share in the Sacrifice (their sacrifice) is in the reply to the priest's urging, (86, The Holy Mass), uttered by the other clergy and the altar servers at the Altar
      • [Novus Ordo sidenote: while this is not allowed in anything but a Missa Lecta form of the EF Low Mass, when partaking in the Novus Ordo, you get to actively respond, aloud, to the Priest's desire to partake in the sacrifice as Christians, via the response. Keep this in mind if you choose to partake in both forms of the Roman Rite to make this part more meaningful to you.] 

19. The Secret

Is this in the Novus Ordo? No.

Cues for the Laity: You will sit while the priest says the prayer in silent tone. When he does audible prayers and replies, after the servers'/clergy's first reply of "Amen", and before the priest says "Dominus Vobiscum," you will stand during a Missa Cantata and Higher Level EF Masses. Otherwise at the Low mass you remain sitting

General Gist: The Priest will say the "secret" prayer silently with outstretched hands. He will then conclude the prayer aloud with sentence and response between himself and the servers'/fellow clergy. He will not turn around to the people  for the Dominus Vobiscum this time around.

Cues for the Laity: Continue to do what you are doing from the Orate Fratres: Standing at Missa Cantata or Higher, sitting if Low Mass.


  • The secret is not really a "secret" prayer, inasmuch as it refers to the fact that "oremus" is not preceding the rest of the words. (87, The Holy Mass)
  • Secrets always correspond to the Collects of the Mass. They are the same in number, and refer to the same subject: the commemoration of the same solemnity or the intercession of the Saints mentioned in the collect (126, The Latin Mass Explained). 
  • The conclusion of the last secret "Per omnia saecula saeculorum" is always said or sung aloud, forming the introduction of the Preface. (126, The Latin Mass Explained)


Works Cited:
1. Moorman, Msgr. George J. The Latin Mass Explained. Tan Publishing: Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.A. 2010.

2. Gueranger, D.P. The Holy Mass. Baronius Press Limited: London, United Kingdom. 2005.

3. Coalition in Support of Ecclesia Dei. Latin-English Booklet Missal for Praying the Traditional Mass. Coalition in Support of Ecclesia Dei: Glenview, Illinois, USA. 2008.

4. The Ordinary of the MassThe Daily Missal and Liturgical Missal with Vespers For Sundays and Feasts From the Editio Typica of the Roman Missal and Breviary, 1962 With Supplements Containing The Additional Masses for Englang and Wales, Scotland, United States and Australasia. Summorum Pontificum Edition. Baronius Press: London. 2009.