Servers Notes from Ritual Notes (1894)

Posted June 17, 2017 9:19 pm by Isten Joe

Ritual Notes, the text, informs the thinking or aesthetic of the celebration of Divine Worship: the Missal, of the Ordinariate.
We begin by presenting a section of the 1894 Edition of Ritual Notes, an authoritative handbook of ceremonial used in the then Catholic-minded liturgical precincts of the Church of England, issued during the beginning stages of the Anglo-catholic Movement in the Church of England. Notes has been republished eleven times. For the moment, this presentation is limited to the text of the 1894 Edition.
Readers trained in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (Low Mass) will immediately recognize the dependency upon, or at least the substantial harmony of Ritual Notes with Roman Catholic liturgical practice.
The delight is in the details.
Even within contemporary celebrations of the Extraordinary Form, practices or liturgical customs may vary slightly from location to location or from group to group. Slight variations in gestures may affirm theological emphasis. The variation regarding liturgical customs associated with the EF Mass, however, is nothing as arbitrary as the variations one typically witnesses regarding the celebration of the Ordinary Form from one parish to the next. The concept of legitimate variation in liturgical custom rooted in nuanced theological principles is practically lost upon most priests who exclusively celebrate the Ordinary Form of the Mass. The theological principles undergirding the rubrics of the Ordinary Form of the Mass are so poorly understood that the rubrics intended to facilitate a deeper encounter with Christ are simply tossed aside rather than engaged. Most commonly, the rubrics of the Ordinary Form are understood in solely utilitarian terms. When the theological import of a rubric is not immediately apparent to a priest, rather than taking the opportunity to inform himself, he merely dispenses with its observation. Sadly, in most Ordinary Form parishes one could argue that anarchy due to sloth is the rubric of choice.
Polemics aside, let us proceed in peace (procedamus in pace) to the fine lines found among the pages of the 1894 Edition of Ritual Notes.

Ritual Notes on the Order of Divine Service (1894 Edition)
made available by Project Canterbury

viii. Notes for the Server
The Server should be vested in Cassock and Surplice.
His first duty is to see that the Altar is duly prepared, the cover removed, and the book desk and Cards placed thereon in proper position. The Wine and Water Cruets, the box or canister with the breads, and the dish and towel for the Lavabo being all in readiness on the Credence, he will proceed to light the Candles, vide p. 2.
He then returns to the Sacristy and assists the Celebrant to wash his hands and, if it be the custom, to vest; if so, he kisses the Amice, the Maniple and the Stole by the Cross, as he presents them.[20] He must take care that the Alb hangs equally on all sides.
The Priest being ready to enter the Church, the Server takes the Missal with both hands at the lower part, on either side, and holds it straight before his breast, the opening being towards his left; he must be careful not to disarrange the markers.
Making a reverence to the Cross in the Sacristy and then to the Priest, he precedes him into the Church.
Arrived at the steps of the Altar, he moves a little to the right to permit the Priest to come to the centre, he salutes him and receives the Biretta with his right hand, drawing it towards his lips as though to kiss it. He then turns, and [page 45] with the Celebrant makes the proper reverence to the Altar, afterwards placing the Biretta on the Credence or Sedilia, then he places the Missal on the book desk or cushion, with the opening of the Book towards the centre, but without opening it.
He descends to the pavement and kneels with hands joined, at the side of the Celebrant, on that side which is opposite to the Missal. Then alternately with the Celebrant, he says the Antiphon, Psalm Judica, Confession, &c., taking care to make his responses slowly and in a low but clear voice.
He bows his head when the Priest says the Confession, and at the end, turning toward him, responds, May Almighty God have mercy upon thee, forgive thee thy sins, and bring thee to everlasting life. The Priest says Amen, and the Server, being still inclined, at once says the Confession, turning towards the Priest at the words you father, and striking his breast gently three times with his right hand at the words my fault, &c. He remains inclined till after the Priest has said May Almighty God, &c., to which he responds Amen, and then raises himself and makes the Sign of the Cross, with the Priest, at the words May the Almighty and Merciful Lord, &c., to which he again responds, Amen. He bows moderately at Wilt Thou not turn again, &c., and remains in the same position until the Priest is about to ascend to the Altar, when he stands and raises the Vestments slightly in front with his right hand.
The Priest having arrived at the Altar, the Server kneels, with his hands joined, on the lowest step, with his face towards the Altar and near the extremity on the side opposite to that on which is the Missal. He remains in this position, making the necessary responses in a distinct voice, until the end of the Epistle, unless it be necessary before the Collect of the Day to remove the Book to the Epistle side of the Altar, in which case he will rise to do so at the last clause of the Prayer for the Queen.
After the Epistle, the Server responds, Thanks be to God, he then rises and proceeds to the right of the Celebrant, where he remains, with face towards the Altar, until the conclusion of the Gradual or Tract, he then removes the Book to the Gospel side of the Altar, placing it so that the opening be turned somewhat towards the centre. Standing a little apart from the Altar, at the left of the Priest, and turned towards him, the Server waits until the Priest announces the Gospel, and then makes the Sign of the Cross, with his thumb, upon his forehead, mouth and breast; rejoining his hands, he says, Glory be to Thee, O Lord, then returns at once to the Epistle side and stands below the steps. The Server will always pass from one side of the Altar to the other below the steps, or, at least, below the predella,[21] and will take care in passing the centre to turn and make the proper reverence to the Altar or to the Blessed Sacrament. He turns towards the Celebrant during the Gospel, at the Name of JESUS makes an inclination of the head, and at the end says, Praise be to Thee, O Christ. If the Priest makes a genuflection during the Gospel, the Server will do likewise.
Then, whether the Creed is said or not, he kneels at once[22] and remains so until the Offertory, when he stands, makes the proper reverence in the centre, collects the Alms and presents them to the Priest, then proceeds to the Credence and prepares the Cruets. Standing, if possible, below the predella, he first brings to the Priest the breads, and then spreads the napkin on the Altar at the Epistle side and places upon it the dish with the Cruets, from which the stoppers have been previously removed or opened. He will take the Wine Cruet with his right hand, kiss it, and inclining his head to the Priest, present it to him. He then takes the Water Cruet in his right hand and receives back the Wine Cruet with his left, and kisses it as before. He kisses but retains the Water Cruet until the water has been blessed, and then presents it to the Priest in precisely the same manner as the Wine Cruet; he receives it [page 46] again from the Priest, with his right hand and kisses it, and then replaces the Wine Cruet on the Credence. Whenever the Priest and the Altar are vested in black all kisses are to be omitted.
The Server returns to the Altar and adjusts the napkin so that it can be readily taken up, then holding the dish in the left hand and the Water Cruet in his right, he stands below the predella at the end, and when the Celebrant comes, first kisses the Cruet and then pours the water gently over his fingers. When he has received the napkin from the Priest he kisses it, makes an inclination of the head and retires to the Credence, where he deposits the Cruet, &c., and arranges everything in order.
It is sometimes inconvenient or undesirable to place the dish with the Cruets on the Altar, in that case the Server leaves the dish and the napkin on the Credence until he returns there with the Cruets, then he places the napkin over his left arm, and taking the dish in his left hand and the Water Cruet in his right, proceeds as already directed.
Having arranged the Credence, the Server returns to the step and kneels on the Epistle side. When the Priest has said Brethren, pray, &c., he responds The Lord receive the Sacrifice at thy hands, to the praise and glory of His Name, to our benefit and that of all His Holy Church, to which the Priest adds Amen. If it should happen that when the Priest begins Brethren, pray, the Server has not returned to his step, he should kneel, at once, on the lowest step near the Credence and make the response. After the Exhortation, he says the Confession, and in the Absolution, makes the Sign of the Cross upon himself, at the words pardon and deliver you.
At the Sanctus he inclines moderately and rings the bell three times. At the Benedictus he makes the Sign of the Cross upon himself.
In the Canon, at the words Who in the same night the Server should rise and kneel on the top step, a little to the right of the Priest, being careful to bring the bell with him. Just before the Elevation, he will take the Chasuble with his left hand raising it slightly as the Priest makes the Elevations but not holding it while he genuflects. At each Elevation he rings the bell three times, first, when the Priest genuflects after the Consecration; secondly, when he elevates the Sacred Species; and thirdly, when he is again about to genuflect.
During the Elevations, the Server will bow in profound adoration.
At the Agnus Dei, except in Requiems, he strikes his breast at the same time as the Priest.
When the Priest is about to communicate himself with the Sacred Blood, the Server will rise (unless he is himself to communicate[23]), make a genuflection, take the bell to the Credence and then kneel, parallel with the top step of the Altar, facing sideways, and not towards the East, in case he should turn his back upon the Blessed Sacrament while the Priest is communicating the people.
When all have communicated, the Server proceeds to the centre makes a genuflection and then kneels as before on the lowest step at the Epistle side.[24]
During the Gloria in Excelsis, he will make the usual inclinations and, at the end, the Sign of the Cross at the same time as the Priest.
He remains kneeling until after the Blessing, during which he makes the Sign of the Cross upon himself, then rises, goes to the centre, makes a genuflec­tion and proceeds to the Credence.
Taking the Cruets, the wine in the right and the water in the left hand, he goes to the Altar, and remaining, if possible, on the step below the predella, pours into the Chalice, when the Priest offers it to him, a sufficient quantity of wine, bowing to the Priest before and after. When the Priest again [page 47] presents the Chalice he pours first, a little wine over his fingers and then, a much larger quantity of water, bowing as before. Then the Server returns to the Credence and replaces the Cruets. He moves the Book to the Epistle corner, in readiness for the Priest to read the Communion and Post Communions, and then goes to kneel on the Gospel side.
If the Priest does not close the Book, the Server must move it to the Gospel corner.
During the Last Gospel he will stand, as usual, at the Epistle side, although the Book may then be on that side. He makes the three Signs of the Cross at the announcement as at the first Gospel, says Glory be to Thee, O Lord, turns towards the Priest, genuflects with him at And the Word was made flesh, and responds at the conclusion, Thanks be to God. He then takes the Missal from the stand, carries it as before, fetches the Biretta and stands at the bottom of the steps, a little to the right of the centre. When the Priest has descended he makes with him the proper reverence to the Altar, then kisses the Biretta and presents it with his right hand to the Priest, turns and precedes him to the Sacristy.
Arrived at the Sacristy, he steps a little aside and as the Priest passes, salutes him and then turns and with him makes an inclination to the Cross of the Sacristy. He puts down the Missal and standing at the left of the Priest, assists him to unvest, kissing the Stole, Maniple and Amice as he receives them. He then proceeds to the Altar and extinguishes the Candles, removes the desk and the Cards, covers the Altar, and brings back the Cruets, &c., which he puts into their proper places. Removing his Cassock and Surplice, he salutes the Priest and retires to the Church to say a short prayer before leaving.


[20] Some authorities say that when he presents such Vestments as have the Cross wrought upon them, he will draw them to his lips, as if to kiss the sacred emblem, but, out of reverence, he will refrain from actually doing so.

[21] When he is moving the Book from one side of the Altar to the other, it seems best he should walk on the step below the predella, and at other times when he has to cross the Sanctuary, that he should do so on the pavement below the steps.

[22] During the Creed, he will make the usual inclinations and the Sign of the Cross at the end, at the same time as the Priest.

[23] The Server makes his Communion next after the Celebrant, even though a Priest be present, about to assist and desiring to communicate.

[24] If the Ablutions are taken immediately after the Communion of the people, the Server, will at once, proceed to the Credence and then carry out the directions in the text enclosed within brackets. After the Blessing he rises, goes to the centre, makes a reverence to the Altar and then proceeds to the Epistle side where he stands for the Last Gospel but first conveys the Book to the Gospel side, if it be necessary.

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