Monday, 14 January 2013

Starter Points II - General Altar Knowledge that Servers Will Need (2/3) including setting up the Altar for Mass

Starter Points II (2/3)- General Altar Knowledge that Servers Will Need including setting up the Altar for Mass

Hello everyone. In this 3rd post to the Starter Points series, we will be going over "altar things" using some diagrams in order to understand, what is what. This will be important because you will, in your specific roles as servers or even as the solo low mass server, be told to get X, or go to Y. You got to know the objects and what they are for and where to go to perform your role properly. Further, I will talk generally about setting up the altar for Mass using the resources I have as well as what I can add from limited experience setting up (I've done more solemn masses than others), but also I have a couple of nice videos to add thanks to Robin L.M. Cheung, "de facto" senior server of the Latin Masses of St. Lawrence the Martyr Catholic Church, Scarborough. 

ALTAR THINGS

Altar Things 1: The Sanctuary

Figure 1: Traditional Main Parts of the EF Altar/Sanctuary (119, Learning to Serve A Guide for Altar Boys)

Altar Cross/Crucifix - Enough said. In cases where there is no major altar cross in front of the altar, one could take a standing crucifix and place it between the six altar candles. Think of it like the Benedictine arrangement used by our Holy Father. Preferably there should be a crucifix in plain sight for the laity, though this might not always be the case, despite the wishes of some obstinate altar servers/liturgists/laity, etc.

Sanctuary Lamp - This is to be on all the time when our Lord's Body/the Eucharist is present in the tabernacle. It might be attached to a wall or hung like a chandelier by chains, or a lamp stand (though that isn't common).

Altar Canopy or Baldachin - Covers the central altar. 

Candlesticks - There should be 6 of equal height together for the Latin Masses. When a Low Mass is said, only the corner/farthest ones from the centre are lit. A TRUE LATIN MASS CANDLE, will be made of beeswax, with a minimum 51% content of beeswax (as often other chemicals or ingredients are put in to make the candle burn longer or preserve its integrity). Unfortunately, most Churches now use plastic/fibreglass candles that use oil-canisters with wicks, and you place the canisters in them. Ideally if you are a Latin Mass Parish or organization  try to purchase some altar candle bases that take the Beeswax candles and use them wherever you have the Mass. 
  • Fun Fact: Why beeswax with a wick? ".... The pure wax made by bees from flowers symbolizes the pure flesh of Christ received from his Virgin Mother. The wick signifies the soul of Christ and the flame represents His divinity. The lights on the altar at Mass represent, likewise, the hearts of the faithful, which, illuminated by the light of Christ and inflamed by the fire of His love, are ever consumed for the Honour of God ...." (56, The Latin Mass Explained). 
Dorsal Curtain or if Wood, Reredos: This is what is considered the "backing" of the altar.

Tabernacle (with Veil) - The sacred vesicle that houses our Lord in the Eucharist, and other consecrated hosts. I hope you at least learnt about this in elementary school. 

Candleabras - You will see these in more ornate Churches, though these might be used for a Forty Days devotion or a Benediction. 

Antepedium - The front of what is the high altar in a Church with both an Ordinary and Extraordinary Form altar. You could call the front of the converted OF one as well. 

Predella - These are the steps leading up to the high altar. These can also be the steps leading up to a converted OF altar as well. The predella is important to a few of the serving roles (e.g. "Book" or left acolyte in a 2-server Low Mass, the acolytes in all levels of Mass, the Thurifer and boat bearer in High/Solemn Masses) because the servers must know when to approach the predella, when to go up and down, and also what step to be on and when. 

Credence Table - Where the water and wine cruets, the lavabo dish and ablution towels, the boat (if there is no censer pole with a spot for the boat), the paten, and any necessary items for the liturgy are placed. 

Sedilia - Latin for "seat" or "chair." This denotes the center-most/largest chair of the three which the priest/Celebrant sits on during appropriate times in the liturgy, even if all three chairs are equal in height. The priest will often be sitting down in this especially in High/Solemn Masses waiting for the choir to be mostly finished singing the appropriate prayers in the Mass

Pulpit/Lectern - You likely know this as the Ambo in the Ordinary Form liturgy. In the Extraordinary form, the Priest will give his sermon from this area. He will NOT say the Gospel here. The priest says the Gospel at the left side of the altar in a Low Mass/High Mass or Missa Cantata, or the deacon will say the Gospel on the left side of the Church below the sanctuary area. 

Altar Things 2: Liturgical Items
 
                                   Figure 2: Actual Objects in the Liturgy  (122, Learning to Serve ...)

Altar Bread - Also known as an unconsecrated host. This bread according to Church law MUST be made of wheat flour with at least a detectable/known portion of wheat gluten (usually 0.1% for gluten-reduced hosts). No other flour must be used. It is because at the Last Supper "Jesus took bread ..." and without any other qualifier, in Scripture this signifies wheaten bread. When eating the Passover, the Jews used only wheaten bread. Further, the bread MUST be unleavened out of the fact that the Passover was celebrated 'on the first day of the azymes.' (65, The Latin Mass Explained) [Not to mention even in modern day Passover Seders, the unleavened bread known as Matzoh is always used for the major portions of the Seder, as per tradition and Jewish laws.]

Paten - The dish that holds the altar bread as part of the chalice is also a paten, but this one is for the altar bread to be consecrated. Like the chalice, due to coming into contact with one of the consecrated portions of Our Lord, it too must be blessed with special prayers and unctions, and holy oil by a bishop, and be made of precious metals before usage. (60, The Latin Mass Explained).

Chalice - Holds the water and wine to become the Blood of Christ. " ... It reminds us of the cup which our
Blessed Saviour used at the Last Supper when He instituted the Holy Eucharist ...." (59, The Latin Mass Explained). The Chalice, regardless of the form of the Mass, MUST be made of precious metals, not other materials like porcelain or wood, and must be blessed with holy oil by a bishop before use. If this isn't happening, it's a grave violation of the GIRM and should be reported immediately.

Cruets - These hold the water and wine to be poured into the chalice and for ablutions/washing hands.

Lavabo dish - If your cruets do not come with a holder, then they go on the lavabo dish. The dish will then be used for the washing of the hands. Otherwise a bowl is normally substituted for this dish as the cruets have their own holder.

Pall - The flat, square which is placed over the chalice. It may consist of two pieces of linen between which a piece of cardboard is inserted for the sake of stiffening it. It's used to prevent anything from falling into the chalice. This must be blessed before usage at mass (64, The Latin Mass Explained).

Purificator - A cloth which is draped over the chalice, under the pall.This cloth is used by the priest to wipe the chalice after consumation of the fluid within, as well as his fingers at the ablutions after communion (not the finger towel at the lavabo!). (64, The Latin Mass Explained).

Corporal - A nine-square cloth which goes underneath the chalice during the 2nd part of the Mass. This cloth does play a role at certain points in the priest's actions, aside from catching particles of the Eucharist. This is recognizable from the other clots as it contains a red cross near the edge. The corporal is carried to and from the altar in the burse.

Chalice Veil - Covers the chalice.

Burse - A larger square cover which contains the altar bread initially pre-consecration. This will contain the corporal when not in use on the altar. It is placed near the right side of the altar standing up when not in use.

Altar Cards - The Last Gospel from the Book of John, the Large one, and the right one.The Gospel of John is placed on the Gospel (left) side of the altar. The one on the Epistle side (right) has the prayers for the blessing of the water cruet, and the psalm for the lavabo. The large centre card has multiple prayers for the Mass. There is a regular set for normal masses, and a special 3-card set for requiem Masses (for the dead/Solemnity of All Souls).

Finger Towel - Used during the lavabo.

Ablution Towel - Used after communion for the 2nd hand washing. Sometimes the finger towel also fills this role.

Ciborium - Another vessel holding hosts to be consecrated alongside the chalice.

Boat - This holds the incense used for the thurible and should have a small spoon in it. When you hand this to a priest, you kiss the SPOON, not the boat itself.

Sprinkler/Aspergilium - Sprinkles holy water in the Asperges and also in other certain occasions (e.g. blessing of the Palms on Palm Sunday in both forms of the Roman Rite). It is placed in a .....

Holy Water Container/Aspensorum - container holding holy water. The thurifer usually carries this when a sprinkling is called for.

Monstrance (Ostensorium)- An ornate type of construct that holds our Lord's Body in the form of the Eucharist during Eucharistic adoration and benediction. Designs vary from beautiful to ugly depending on the parish, but it still serves the same funciton. Most common designs have spikes of varying widths radiating from the center, looking like a "Sun," though a Gothic one might look like a mini-cathedral, and there are modern ones that look, well, not-traditional, e.g. I once was part of an adoration + benediction where the monstrance looked like the Star-Trek insignia. When a priest is placing the Eucharist from the tabernacle into the monstrance, it is placed in a little case of gold or silver called a luna/lunula to be put in the centre of the mostrance. This is done with a humeral veil over the priest's hands as he cannot touch the Body of our Lord with naked hands (regardless if they are "consecrated" hands via ordination).

Censer/Thurible - What looks like a lamp attached to chains, is the actual liturgical instrument used to incense the altar and other objects in the liturgy. Designs and ornate-ness will vary from parish to parish. In addition some are single chain only with one needing to open the censer by pulling the top part of the bowl structure (safely of course!), while the more ornate ones have a central pull chain with three support chains on the sides connecting the top to the bottom portion. If one has an ornate one, sometimes what is ordered innocently is an Eastern-rite one containing bells on the chains, and they will have to be de-belled for the Latin Rite. Pulling the centre chain is what will open the censer on the fancy ones. An altar server will need to become accustomed to the parish's thurible(s), to determine how far to extend the chains, where to hold it, weight of the thurible, etc.

Altar Things 3: Clerical Vestments
Figure 3: Parts of the Vestments of the Clergy  (123, Learning to Serve ...)
While you, the server, don't need to wear anything more than your surplice and cassock, you should know each vestment of the priest in order to know what to get, and what to put out for what Mass. After washing his hands, the priest will place on the following vestments in this order, with the majority of information thanks to Msgr George Noonan's The Latin Mass Explained (70-73):

1) Amice - This is a linen cloth placed around the neck and tied with a drawstring, with folds falling upon the shoulders. Amice comes from the Latin amicare "to wrap around." This hides the bare throat and protects the other vestments from being soiled by perspiration  This is also symbolic for the blindfold around Our Lord while he was struck many a time. The priest prays before placing this on "Place upon my head, O Lord, the helmet of salvation to resist the assaults of the enemy."

2) Alb - This might be familiar to you as a number of post-Vatican II/non-traditional parishes use these for their altar servers (the plain white robe). It is a white linen garment with close fitting sleeves  reaching nearly to the ground and secured on the waist by the cincture. This comes from the Latin albus meaning "white." This symbolizes the purity/chastity befitting a priest, but symbolically reminds us of the white robe which Herod arrayed Our Lord in, in a spirit of mockery. The priest recites: "Purify me, O Lord, from all stain and cleanse my heart, that washed in the blood and cleanse my heart."

3) Cincture - This may also be familiar as altar servers use this to tie their albs (hopefully, else the open alb looks sloppy). This is the "rope" that is used like a belt, tied around the waist of the priest after donning the alb. This will form the "S" in the traditional IHS set up for the priest's garments before Mass. It comes from the Latin cingere meaning "to gird." It reminds one of the cords used to tie up our Lord, but also denotes the mortification of the flesh and its vices. The priest prays before this garment, "Gird me, O lord, with the cincture of purity and extinguish in my loins the heat of concupiscence, that the virtue of continence and chastity may abide in me."

4) Maniple - This is an ornamental silk band, which is worn on the left arm in a manner it falls to equal length on both sides of the arm. It is worn only during the Mass. It might not be placed on the priest's arm prior to mass and may be laid out on the chair(s) and sedilia, depending on the events in the liturgy. Also only those of the sub-deacon or higher can wear the maniple, and this maniple denotes the sub-deacon's rank. It comes from the word manipulus meaning a "small bundle" or "handful." This should remind us of the chains which which Our Lord was bound during His Passion, but for the priest that we must not appear empty-handed in the presence of God, but to bear fruits of virtue and good works. The priest prays prior to wearing it: "May I deserve, O Lord, to bear the maniple of weeping and sorrow, that with exultation I may receive the reqard of my labour."

5) Stole - This is a liturgical item common to both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms. It is the long silk, "scarf-like" garment worn around the priest's neck which comes down vertically, as two strands of cloths covering his chest. As an additional note of interest, a priest should always hear a confession with a stole around him (save a dire emergency or risk of death for the pertinent). This comes from the word stola which was a garment that was worn by nobility during Christ's time. The stole signifies the yoke of the Lord, consisting of the burdens of the sacred ministry. The priest will say as a vesting prayer: "Restore to me, O Lord, the stole of immortality which I lost through the transgression of my first parents, and though I approach unworthily to celebrate Thy Sacred Mystery, may I merit nevertheless eternal joy.

6a) Chausible - This you are likely the most familiar with, as regardless of the form of the Roman Rite, this is what the priest is wearing that is most visible to the laity. It is the outermost garment worn by the priest, the "robe" as it were with usually gold trimming or a design of a sort (e.g. a lamb, something Marian, IHS, the Eucharist, grapes, etc.) on the back. It is basically a sleeveless robe which is square or circular in nature, with a hole for the head to fit through. Its word origin is that it's derived from the Latin word casula which menas "little house." The chausible reminds us of the purple garment worn by our Lord at His judgement by Pontius Pilate and the cross embroidered on it reminds us of the crucifix he was placed on. The priest will say as a prayer: "O Lord, who has said: My yoke is sweet and my burden light, grant that I may so carry it as to merit Thy grace."

6b) Dalmatic (not pictured) and/or Tunicle - This is the outermost garment worn by the Deacon and Subdeacon during the Solemn Mass. Its shape is similar to that of the Chausible. To tell them apart, the back design of the subdeacon's Dalmatic will usually have one horizontal bar connecting the vertical ones (like an H), and the sub-deacon's Tunicle will have two horizontal bars connecting the vertical ones. The tunicle will also be longer and have narrower sleeves and less ornamentation vs. the dalmatic. This is what takes place of the chausible for the sub-deacon and deacon in the Solemn Mass.

7) Biretta - A fancy looking hat in black with a "pom-pom" attached to the top. The biretta's top also has three folds that come out at certain points. This hat will be worn by those of the clerical class before they enter the sanctuary and leave the Sanctuary, by the priest during the homily, and at certain points when the clergy sit during the High/Solemn Mass while prayers are being sung. Usually the Master of Ceremonies or the more "prominent" server (e.g. "Bell" or epistle side acolyte in a 2-server public Low Mass)

8) Humeral Veil (not pictured) - This is necessary to handle the Blessed Sacrament be it in transferring it to/from the monstrance, and also to hold the monstrace when it is shown to the laity in benediction/adoration. This will be observed regardless of EF or NO adoration/benediction. It's a silk cloth that can cover the shoulders, upper back, and hands. It may also be worn when other objects are being held in a clergy member's hands in certain instances e.g. by the sub-deacon at the offertory in Solemn Mass. This is used in both forms of the Roman Rite.


ACTUALLY SETTING UP THE ALTAR 

General Set-up before the EF Holy Mass

LIST OF ITEMS
In order to set up the altar for Mass, here's a list of main items you will need to know where they are stored and/or where to place them on the Altar:
  • 1962 Missale Romanum (Roman Missal)
  • Three Altar Cards: Main, the Last Gospel, and the third Smaller Card with their stands (if not framed)
  • Cruets filled with water and wine
  • Cruet Holder
  • Bowl for handwashing/Lavabo
  • Ablution (finger) towel for Lavabo
  • Paten for Communion
  • Bells (on step OR on the credence table/credence table "shelf")
  • Altar Cards for server and priest's responses/replies
  • Matches/lighter for all candles
Additionally, you may need the following additional items in order to set up the altar for Mass and events surrounding the liturgy, depending on what feast day it is, the level of the EF Mass being said, or if they are not already out on the altar/in the sanctuary in a visible and ready-to-use location:

  • Stands or benches to prop up Candles in an EF formation on the Novus Ordo Altar (if your parish doesn't have a high altar with gradines/altar shelves or areas to place the candles) 
  • Censer/thurible and FILLED boat with incense with corresponding stand
  • Torches, placed in the sacristy or the nave for the Solemn/Pontifical level EF Mass
  • Additional garments for the priest such as: maniples, chausubles or dalmatics, cope, etc. 
  • Additional tables if there is a special blessing (e.g. Feast of Candlemas)
  • Umbrellino/Umbraculim and Baldacchino for Eucharistic processions
  • Monstrace for Eucharistic Adoration/Benediction
  • Any extra ciboria with unconsecrated hosts if needed
  • The Missale Defunctorum in the place of the 1962 Missale Romanum, and appropriate requiem Mass altar cards if the Mass is a requiem Mass
  • A vesting table should an Asperges rite be performed on a Sunday 
GENERAL SET-UP (With Some Pictures) - Where to go and What to do?

It goes without saying that one should arrive at least a half hour before the start of the Low Mass to set up the altar, and even earlier for a higher level Mass. This should be especially important to you if you are in the rank of senior server/Master of Ceremonies as the other servers (and priests/deacons too) will be looking to you for guidance and organization. If it is your first few masses, you should probably arrive even earlier to go over things with your higher-ranking servers/clergy and also to observe the set up of the altar. 

As for the specific order of what to do when, this will depend on who is training you, and what is needed on the altar for the level of the Mass. Some priests/MCs will want things done a specific way at parish X or with organization X. Other organizations and parishes may give you more latitude in your order. However, as with all things, be efficient in your setting up of the Altar as you will still need time to put on your surplice and cassock and say the corresponding vesting prayers, get the processional prayer from the priest in the sacristy, etc. What I will provide here is generalities for doing things, and specific rules when absolutely needed (e.g. Candle lighting). 

Also remember ... when you exit/enter the sacristy, to get to/from the altar, and are setting things up and crossing the altar at the centre ... DO A SINGLE GENUFLECTION. Also don't do it in a rush or lazily. Be reverent, but be prompt and at a good solid pace in walking and setting things up. Some early arrivals WILL be watching you ....

THE ACTUAL ALTAR
To set up the actual altar for any EF Mass, you'll need these items:
  • The altar cards
  • Stands for the altar cards if your parish/group has them and they aren't framed
  • The altar candles
  • Possibly, benches or things to prop up the candles onto the Novus Ordo altar to make it suitable for an EF Mass if the altar has no suitable gradines/altar shelves.
  • Lighting materials for the candles
  • Altar Cloth (if it isn't out on the altar already. Hopefully it is). 
  • The 1962 Missal
  • Any extra ciboria with unconsecrated hosts if needed
- Propping up the candles and creating the "gradine" should be your first priority after placing the altar cloth on the table if needed. The standard arrangement for the candles should be three, equally spaced candles on each side with a gap in the center where either (a) your tabernacle is, and/or (b) a crucifix is present. The candles will also be needed too for propping up the altar cards if the cards have no stands

- The altar cards go in specific areas: 
  • The large altar card is placed in the centre of the altar, but close to the edge of the altar away from the priest. This might be held up freely in a stand, or in a picture frame. Otherwise one will need something to hold up the card. As seen in the picture below, the Crucifix at SLTM is quite suitable for holding up the central altar card. 
  • The Last Gospel from the Book of John goes on the left side of the altar, near the upper left corner (away from the priest). It might be held up with the farthest most candle if not in a stand or in its own frame.
  • The final prayer card is placed in the upper right corner of the altar (away from the priest). Same thing with standing it up, as with the Last Gospel Card. 
  • NOTE: There is a special set of all three cards for the requiem Mass. They will have some different prayers or text, and might be of different colours. Do not place the regular sets you use out during a requiem Mass. 

- The 1962 Missal, in its own book stand, will be placed on the right side of the altar if not being carried up by an altar server in procession. It is to be placed horizontally and in the centre of the altar, in front of the right altar card. Ensure that the priest has set it to the right prayers and such for today's Mass.

- LIGHTING CANDLES is a specific rule-bound practice in the EF of the Roman Rite. All candles must be done in a specific order. Here is a picture to demonstrate the order, with 1 being your first lit candle:

Figure 4: The Order of Lighting Candles in the EF. (12, How to Serve ...)

As one can see here, the first candles lit are on the Epistle side of the altar (right side). You light the biggest one's first going away from the tabernacle (Jesus is the Centre and source of our Eternal light and life!) and then lighting the smaller candelabras if present (you won't likely see these unless a benediction/adoration or a 40 hours devotion is done). You then do the same for the Gospel side candles and the little candelabra.

There are also a set number of candles to light depending on the Mass Level. You light the two large, corner candles for a Low Mass, and all 6 large candles for a Missa Cantata or higher.

When all is said and done, one should have an altar that looks likes these examples from the St. Patrick's Gregorian Choir Masses from Oct/Nov 2012:

Set up from Holy Rosary Church Solemn TLM: Feast of Christ the King 2012

 
Set up from St Lawrence the Martyr Catholic Church Solemn Requiem TLM: All Souls 2012. The Missal is not on the altar yet. 


Here is an example of a true EF altar that is NOT Novus Ordo and reconstructed (notice the N.O. one in the front.) This is a true EF high altar with a reredos (wood backing) and an actual gradine for the altar candles, though this was taken mid-mass so you cannot see the whole altar. 

Picture: True EF high altar with reredos (wood backing) and gradines (ascending steps) for the altar candles. Taken of the altar at Holy Innocents in Manhattan, NY, USA, where popular blogger-priest Fr. John Zuhlsdorf of What Does the Prayer Really Say is known to say the EF Mass. From http://www.servialtarischristi.org/ 

THE CHALICE
In most cases, this will be prepared by the priest or another cleric. However, at times this duty might fall to you as a sacristan or senior server (per chance you priest prefers servers/sacristans perform that duty, or is late). If you must set up the chalice before mass, you set it up in the following order as per William O'Brien's A Handbook for the Sacristan (34):

1) Ensure your chalice is free from dust and particles. If so, place the purificator over the chalice (usually there are two folds and three sections already part of the cloth, have the centre part horizontally over the chalice.
2) Place the communion paten on top of the purificator with a large size altar bread in the centre of the paten.
3) Place the square pall on top of the paten that has the altar bread.
4) Cover the chalice with the chalice veil.
5) Place the corporal cloth folded into the burse.
6) Place the square burse on top of the chalice.

Here`s some pictures for visual reference (with edited arrows place to show you the steps):

Figure 5: Order of steps to compile the chalice in case you are asked. (35, A Handbook for the Sacristan). 

THE CREDENCE TABLE
There are three main items that should be contained on the credence table:
1) The water and wine cruets, filled to a specific capacity. They can be on a lavabo dish or in a specific container.
2) The lavabo bowl (if a dish isn't in use to hold the cruets) and a finger towel.
3) The communion paten (in optional protective sleeve).

There are additional items for the Solemn Mass/Missa Solemnis:
4) The chalice which is veiled
5) The Evangelarium/Book of epistles and Gospels

Optional for Low Mass: A prayer card containing the Leonine prayers to be said after the Mass (e.g. St. Michael, Hail Holy Queen ...)

A standard credence table should look similar to this:

Figure 6: Credence table set for Low Mass with Paten (and its dust cover), Filled cruets in carrier, Lavabo bowl, and finger towel. This table is on the Epistle side, as should be in the Latin Mass. 

Special Task: Setting up the priestly Vestments:

This is not the easiest task to do unless you get good at it. It will take time to get the whole thing down. What I have here is a video demonstration by senior EF server Robin Cheung of St. Lawrence the Martyr Catholic Church, Scarborough, Ontario, CAN, setting up a traditional "IHS" style arrangement for the priest's vestments before a Latin Mass (specifically this was before a Low Mass I helped serve with Robin). 
PART 1: The Priest's Vestments Before Mass


PART II: The S for the Vestments with the Cincture (belt rope)



Now, depending on which Mass level you do, you will need to spread out the parts of the vestments and possibly place some of them on the altar and others in the sacristy. Here's where they go:

Low Mass - All vestments are simply left in the Sacristy for the priest. 

High Mass/Missa Cantata - If there is to be an Asperges rite, the stole, cincture, alb and cope are placed on the vesting table/area. The chausible and maniple are placed upon the sedilia. Otherwise the vestments are all together as per Low Mass. (39, A Handbook for the Sacristan)

Solemn Mass/Missa Solemnis - Without an Asperges rite, the following will be prepared in the sacristy:
Subdeacon (left of priest's vestments): Dalmatic, maniple, cincture, alb and amice. 
Deacon (right of priest's vestments): Dalmatic, stole, maniple, cincture, alb, and amice
CELEBRANT (center): Chausable, stole, maniple, cincture, alb, amice

Should there be an Asperges rite, the changes made are: The chausible of the priest and maniples of all three clergy are placed on the sedilia. 

LITURGICAL COLOURS
Since I've mentioned both the vestments, the Chalice (specifically the veil and the burse), and also an altar cloth, one must cover or prepare such items in the appropriate liturgical colour. Here is a short, summary guide with details from A Handbook for the Sacristan pages 10-11, though most of the colours and their appropriate liturgical seasons have remained steady into the Novus Ordo:

White - On the feasts of Our Lord (e.g. the Nativity, Transfiguration) except on the Feast of the Precious Blood; On feasts of the Blessed Virgin [NOTE: Marian Vestments can be used as long as the main colour is white with blue TRIM. Pure Blue Marian Vestments are a No-No. Pure blue Marian Vestments in the Novus Ordo should not also be allowed, and is not a valid liturgical colour.]; the angels and all the saints who are not martyrs (e.g. Solemnity of All Saints)

Red - On the feasts of Martyrs; feasts of the Precious Blood, On Whitsunday (during Pentecost) and throughout the Octave of Pentecost.

Green - On Sundays and Ferial Days from the end of the Octave of the Epiphany to Septuagesima; and on Sundays and Ferial Days in the season after Pentecost. 

Violet/Purple - On Sundays and Ferial Days during Advent and Lent. However Rose can be used for Gaudete (3rd) Sunday during Advent and Laetare (4th) Sunday of Lent. During the last days of Holy Week; on certain Vigils; on Ember Days except those in Whitsun week; at certain votive Masses and at many blessings.

Black - For requiem Masses, both for funerals here on earth, and the requiem Mass for the Solemnity of All Souls. This is also used for Good Friday, and other Masses for the Dead (when black is permissable). 

Rose (Roseaca) - As mentioned in the Violet/Purple, can substitute for the 3rd/Gaudete sunday in Advent and the 4th/Laetare Sunday in Lent. NO OTHER TIMES!

Gold/Silver - Can substitute any of the days where white, red, or green is required in the liturgical calendar. CANNOT substitute purple or black. 

SUMMARY
So basically you set up the altar for Mass with the following:
- Candles and makeshift gradines if necessary, with the correct altar covering. 
- Items needed for the altar like the Mass cards and the 1962 Missal 
- Set up the credence table with the necessary items for your mass, and anything optional as required
- light candles on the altar in the specific order necessary
- place bells, altar server response cards, and any other extras wherever necessary on the altar
- set up the clergy members' vestments in the Sacristy

NEXT: STARTER POINTS II (3/3) - Altar Server Responses and Prayers for the Mass including vesting prayers and before procession. 

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.

O'Brien, William. A Handbook for the Sacristan. Catholic Research Institute: Verdale, WA, USA. 1932.

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