Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.
For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.
A valuable handbook for the server at all liturgical celebrations. Complete with illustrations, this volume covers in careful detail all the responsibilities and duties of the acolyte.
|Publisher:||Church Publishing Inc.|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||1 MB|
Read an Excerpt
A Manual for Acolytes
The Duties of the Server At Liturgical Celebrations
By DENNIS G. MICHNO, Richard E. Mayberry
Church Publishing, Inc.Copyright © 1981 Dennis G. Michno
All rights reserved.
How To Use This Manual
Part One describes the general procedures, posture, vestments, the way to light and extinguish candles, and includes a check-list for use before the Eucharist.
Part Two (Chapters 8-9) is the most important in that it deals with the basic duties of the server at the Eucharist. First, there is an outline of the Eucharist. Chapter 9 is then divided into four columns: 1) when the celebrant faces the congregation across the altar; 2) when the celebrant faces the cross (with back to the congregation); 3) helpful illustrations; and 4) optional variants. This part of the manual must obviously be adapted to conform with the practice of your own parish church.
Part Three contains a description of the division of the duties if there is more than one server, and then deals with the specific duties of the acolyte, crucifer, and thurifer.
Part Four contains variants for the Daily Offices and other special liturgies.
This is followed by Appendix A, which is a Form for the Commissioning of Servers, and Appendix B, which is an outline of the Church Year.
At the end there is a Glossary or list of terms used in this manual. If you don't know the meaning of a word, look it up!
Page numbers in italics throughout this manual refer to The Book of Common Prayer.
All who serve at the altar should be familiar with The Book of Common Prayer and with the ceremonies and responsibilities described in this manual. Read and study them carefully, and practice so that you are well aware of what is expected of you when you are going to serve.
The Server's Prayers
"Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." (Romans 12:9-12)
Before the Service
Be present, Lord Jesus, be present! Grant that I may faithfully and loyally serve you in love and through my service proclaim, "In all things, God be glorified." Amen.
After the Service
Glory to you, Lord Jesus, Glory to you! Grant that as I have served in your presence, so I may witness faithfully and loyally to your love in the world and forever proclaim, "In all things, God be glorified." Amen.
1. One who serves at the altar, whether as acolyte, crucifer, or thurifer, must always keep in mind that the attention of the congregation is not to be on those ministering but on the liturgy. Therefore, always move discreetly and quietly—and above all with reverence.
When standing—stand up straight, and if you are carrying a candle or the processional cross make sure that it is straight.
When kneeling—put all of your weight on your knees and kneel upright. Do not squat or slouch. It looks terrible!
When bowing—There are two types of bows: the solemn and the simple. The solemn bow is used when reverencing the altar, and at other times as directed. The solemn bow is from the waist, inclining the head and shoulders so that if your hands were out in front of you, they would almost touch your knees.
The simple bow, at the name of Jesus and on other occasions of reverence, is made with the head, inclining the shoulders slightly.
One never bows when carrying a candle or the processional cross.
When genuflecting—Genuflection (the bending of the knee) is a sign of reverence to the Blessed Sacrament when reserved in an aumbry, tabernacle, or on the altar. It is done simply and with dignity. Don't make it look as if you are falling forward or crouching down!
Standing up straight, bend your right knee until it touches the floor—the left knee will naturally bend a bit—and keep your back straight. This will take practice, but again your actions are not to be a distraction to the congregation.
One never genuflects when carrying a candle or the processional cross.
When sitting—sit up straight in the chair, knees together, feet together.
3. What do I do with my hands?
Unless you are carrying something, your hands should always be folded and held above the waist. They should never hang down at your sides or hang folded below the waist.
When sitting, either fold your hands in your lap or place them straight out on your knees with palms down. They are not meant to support your head!
4. The Sign of the Cross
The sign of the cross should always be made reverently and in a dignified manner. Remember, you are signing yourself with the Cross of Christ and this act of devotion should convey that meaning. With your right hand, fingers together, touch your forehead first, then your chest, then your left 2 shoulder, and finally your right shoulder. Keep the hand motions unobtrusive.
The use of the sign of the cross by those serving at the altar is determined by the custom of the parish and the direction of the priest. A good general rule is that when the celebrant makes the sign of the cross, you make the sign of the cross; when the celebrant doesn't, you don't.
One of your responsibilities is to lead the people in prayers and responses. Therefore, make sure you know them, and say (or sing) them audibly and reverently; don't rush and don't lag behind! Keep the pace set by the celebrant or the congregation.
Always walk slowly and with dignity when serving at the altar. Your movements should never appear rushed or hurried. But at the same time, stiffness must be avoided. Military steps, square corners, and quick turns are all out of place.
7. Holding a Book
If you are instructed to hold a book for the prayers of the celebrant, for the reading of the Gospel, during a baptism, wedding, funeral, or a blessing, do so in the following way:
a. Make sure the book is opened to the right page.
b. Standing in front of the person who is to read, hold the book open.
c. The bottom of the book should rest in the palms of your hands, but make sure that your fingers are not blocking any of the print. The top of the book should be just below your chin (if you are short and the reader is tall, rest the top of the book on your forehead). The book should be slightly tilted for easy reading.
d. If the reader hands you the book unopened, let the reader open it! Hold as above.
When carrying a book do so in a dignified way—even if it is only your hymnal or prayer book. Hold it above your waist, not down at your side.
8. What do I do with my eyes?
When one is serving, eyes should always be focused on the action at the altar, on the reader, or on the preacher. It is very distracting to have a server staring into the congregation or at the ceiling. If you don't know where to look, the best thing is to keep your eyes lowered and look at the floor.
The Vesting of Servers
Those who serve at the altar are regularly vested in either cassock and surplice, amice, alb, and cincture, or cassock-alb.
a. The cassock is worn over street clothes, and should be of such length as to come to the top of the shoes. The surplice, white, with full sleeves, and at least mid-calf in length, is worn over the cassock.
b. The amice is worn over the cassock. The alb, a long, white, sleeved garment, is worn over the cassock and amice. The cincture, a long rope, is tied around the waist with a slip knot, and any extra length of rope allowed to hang down the side.
c. The cassock-alb is a single garment incorporating the amice and alb. Again, it is of such length as to come to the top of the shoes. The cassock-alb is worn with or without a cincture. However, the cincture is desirable for holding the garment properly in place and taking up any extra length.
d. On festive occasions, the crucifer may be vested in a tunic. This colored, sleeved vestment is worn over the cassock-alb (or alb and amice) and cincture—not over a cassock and surplice. It may either match the vestments of the ministers or be of a different color.
e. It is not advisable that the thurifer be vested in a tunic. The sleeves of this garment are easily caught in the chains or in the thurible itself! For safety and ease of movement either the cassock-alb or cassock and surplice are better.
Neatness is always in order: combed hair, polished shoes (preferably not sneakers or running shoes!), and clean hands and fingernails. Remember, your appearance should not distract the congregation.
Always be vested at least fifteen minutes before the service is to begin. This will leave you time for last minute preparations and instructions.
The Lighting of Candles
The traditional manner for lighting the candles is as follows:
1. Always be vested before lighting the candles. They should be lighted ten minutes before the service.
2. Make sure the taper in the candle lighter is long enough.
3. Bend the taper slightly in case the wick of a candle is down.
4. Light the taper in the sacristy, before you go to the altar. (During the Fifty Days of Easter, the taper should be lighted from the Paschal Candle. If this candle is not already burning, it is always lighted first.)
5. Reverence the altar at the center. Then proceed to light the candles on the altar before any others.
a. If there are two candles on the altar, the one on your right as you face the altar is lighted first. Bow again at the center and light the one on the left.
b. If there are six or more candles on the altar, start with the one on your right nearest the center and continue with the others, going to your right. Go back to the center, bow, start with the one on your left nearest the center, then light the others, going to your left.
c. Other candles in the church should be lighted accordingly. (In some places the tradition is observed that at the main Eucharist on Sundays or feast days, all the candles on chapel or side altars are lighted.)
6. After you have finished lighting all of the candles, pull the lever on the pole to extinguish the taper and then immediately push it up again so that part of the taper is visible. This is done so that the wax on the taper does not melt inside and clog the tube.
7. Reverence the altar at the center and return to the sacristy.
8. On certain occasions, such as the Great Vigil of Easter or when the Order of Worship of the Evening is used, the candles are not lighted before the service but during it. Check with the celebrant before lighting candles on special days.
9. If two people are assigned to light the candles, the procedure basically is the same. However, after reverencing the altar together, they light the candles nearest the center first (each taking a different side) and work outward. This should be done in a dignified and quiet way.
10. In some places a wreath of fresh greens with four candles may hang in the chancel or some other place during the weeks of Advent. The candles are lighted as the weeks progress: one on the first Sunday, two on the second Sunday, and so on until all four candles burn on the Fourth Sunday of Advent. It is traditional to light those candles first.
The Extinguishing of Candles
After the celebrant finishes the prayer in the sacristy the candles are extinguished.
1. Take the candle lighter, go to the center of the altar and reverence. The candles are extinguished in the reverse order from the way they were lighted. Those on the main altar should be extinguished first.
a. If there are two candles, the one on your left as you face the altar is extinguished first. Go to the center, bow, and extinguish the other.
b. If there are six or more candles on the altar, start with the one on the left farthest from the center and work toward the center. Then bow, and start with the one on the right farthest from the center and work toward the center.
c. All other candles are extinguished after those on the main altar.
d. During the Fifty Days of Easter, if the Paschal Candle does not burn at all times, it should be extinguished last.
e. During Advent, it is traditional to extinguish the candles on the Advent Wreath last.
2. After all of the candles (except the Sacrament lamp) have been extinguished, come back to the center, reverence the altar, and return to the sacristy. Put the candle lighter in its place and remove your vestments.
3. If two servers are assigned to extinguish the candles, the procedure is the same. After reverencing the altar together, begin with the candles on either end, farthest from the center, and work towards the center. After the altar candles have been extinguished, other candles are extinguished (remember, the Paschal Candle is last during Eastertide!). The servers come to the center, reverence the altar and return to the sacristy.
4. Important notes on extinguishing candles:
a. Be sure to check the inside of the extinguisher, making sure that there is no residue of wax. If there is, clean it out before extinguishing the candles. Old wax can easily melt and create a messy blotch of wax and soot falling on altar linens or vestments.
b. When extinguishing candles, the purpose is not to drown them in their own wax, but rather to cut off the oxygen. Therefore, do not plunge the extinguisher down over the top of the candle, but rather hold it gently over the flame until the candle is out.
c. After extinguishing each candle turn the snuffer up. This will keep melted wax from spilling on the altar linen.
d. If for some reason you must blow the candles out rather than using an extinguisher, be careful. Place your hand behind the flame—otherwise wax will fly all over the place!
Before the Eucharist
Arrive at least twenty minutes before the service begins. Vest immediately; then ask for any instructions from the celebrant or person in charge. After you are vested, it is a good idea to check the credence.
1. If the gifts are not being presented by members of the congregation, the following should be on the credence:
a. Chalice, purificator, paten, bread or host, pall, corporal. If the above are covered with a veil, the burse is placed on top and contains the corporal and an extra purificator. In some places, especially at weekday celebrations, the celebrant will carry these in at the entrance.
b. Bread box with wafers or bread.
c. A cruet of wine and a cruet of water.
d. Lavabo bowl and towel.
e. A second chalice and purificator, if needed.
f. An extra cruet or flagon with wine, if necessary.
2. If the gifts are being presented by members of the congregation be sure that the lavabo bowl and towel (and anything else they may not bring up—see above list) are on the credence.
Ten minutes before the service light the candles (see Chapter 5). Be ready, quiet, and prepared for the start of the service. If you are carrying a candle, light it; if you are thurifer, make sure your coals are very hot; if you are crucifer, have your cross in hand.
Loud talking, or anything that might distract the congregation, is always out of order.
An Outline of the Eucharist
The Holy Eucharist
The Word of God
[Hymn, psalm, or anthem]
[A Penitential Order]
[Collect for Purity]
[Summary of the Law]
Song(s) of Praise
The Collect of the Day The Lessons
Lesson (Old Testament, Acts, Revelation, Apocrypha)
Epistle (Letters of New Testament, Acts, or Revelation)
[Alleluia (or Tract)]
The Nicene Creed
The Prayers of the People
Confession of Sin
The Holy Communion
Sentence of Scripture, hymn, psalm, or anthem
Presentation and preparation of the gifts
The Great Thanksgiving
Salutation and Preface
The Breaking of the Bread
[Prayer of Humble Access]
Invitation to Communion
Ministration of Communion
[Hymn, psalm, or anthem]
Post-communion prayer of thanksgiving
Excerpted from A Manual for Acolytes by DENNIS G. MICHNO, Richard E. Mayberry. Copyright © 1981 Dennis G. Michno. Excerpted by permission of Church Publishing, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Part One: An Introduction to Serving
Chapter 1 How To Use This Manual
Chapter 2 The Server's Prayers
Chapter 3 General Instructions
Chapter 4 The Vesting of Servers
Chapter 5 The Lighting of Candles
Chapter 6 The Extinguishing of Candles
Chapter 7 Before the Eucharist
Part Two: The Holy Eucharist
Chapter 8 An Outline of the Eucharist
Chapter 9 Basic Instructions and Duties of the Server at the Eucharist
Part Three: Specific Duties at the Eucharist
Chapter 10 When There Is More Than One Server
Chapter 11 The Acolyte
Chapter 12 The Crucifer
Chapter 13 The Thurifer
Part Four: Other Liturgies
Chapter 14 The Daily Offices: Morning or Evening Prayer
Chapter 15 An Order of Worship for the Evening
Chapter 16 Holy Baptism; Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage; Burial of
Chapter 17 Processions
Chapter 18 Proper Liturgies for Special Days
Appendix A: A Form for the Commissioning of Servers at the Altar
Appendix B: The Church Year
Glossary of Terms