Acolytes travel in pairs and with the candles held at the same height, that is with the brass wax-catcher at forehead level or higher. If the two people are dramatically different in height, the two should work out the height in advance.


  • The Acolytes flank the Crucifer during a Procession. However, when moving down the narrow side-aisles the Acolytes precede the Crucifer. (Before electricity was used the candles lit the way.)
  • The Acolytes match the Crucifer’s pace, neither leading nor lingering, so that the three of them remain in a straight line. The Crucifer keeps at least two, preferably three pews behind the Thurifer. If the Thurifer is doing 360s, increase the distance even more!
  • At the top of the Chancel steps – the first three steps leading up to the choir – the Crucifer makes a slight pause which allows the Acolytes to move next to one another as they continue forward toward the altar.
  • After passing through the altar gate to the base of the altar steps, Acolytes turn away from one another and stand midway between the end of the altar and the large wooden pavement candles.



On the MC’s cue, all genuflect. At the end of the hymn as the SM ascend to the altar, Acolytes turn to the right, proceed to the credence and place candles in their stands. Acolytes remain standing in front of candle stands for opening prayers, Gloria or Kyrie, censing of the altar and Celebrant, and Collect for the Day.


Acolytes sit during Old Testament (OT) Lesson, Psalm, and New Testament (NT) lesson.

Gospel Procession:

At the end of the New Testament Lesson, immediately after “Thanks be to God,” Acolytes pick up candles and proceed to the foot of the altar steps, facing the altar and lining up in the center “sandwiching” the Thurifer between them. If the timing does not work out so that the Acolytes and Th do not meet in the center, Acolytes should line up with the “outside” altar candles.

Note the tighter formation; don’t spread out too far.

  • At the MC’s signal, all Genuflect and turn facing the Congregation. The MC starts down toward the center of the Church, with the Acolytes following the MC. Approximately halfway down the center aisle, near the heat register in the floor, the MC stops, turns, and signals the position for the Acolytes. The Acolytes turn and face one another with their backs almost touching the pew behind. Candles should be held up so that the metal wax catcher is forehead height or higher, matching partner’s level.
  • When returning to the altar after the Gospel, the Acolytes again follow the MC, who is now following the Sub Deacon. All take positions at the foot of the altar steps in a tighter lineup than for the procession out because the Sub Deacon is now standing by the sedilia, and the Deacon may be preaching .

MC gives the signal to genuflect. Acolytes return candles to holders and sit during the Sermon.


Acolytes stand at foot of altar steps facing across the steps. At the mention of the Incarnation, all genuflect with only the right knee touching the floor.

CONFESSION and ABSOLUTION: All kneel. Cushions are not used at this time unless knees are injured.

PEACE: Acolytes exchange peace with one another and MC, then with SMs when they return to the side.



  • When the Sacred Ministers stand and move to the foot of the altar steps and face the congregation, Acolytes stand in position in front of their candles facing the altar.
  • Note: If Acolytes are asked to double as TT, the only change is to act as TT during the Offertory through to the Agnus Dei. This means taking candles and moving quickly after the Peace to meet the Th at the gate as s/he comes in to have incense laid on. They genuflect with Th. Th has incense laid on. They genuflect again with the Thurifer and follow him/her down the south aisle to the back of the church for the procession. Upon returning to the Sanctuary they stay outside the altar rail, kneeling and raising their torches at the elevations. At the Agnus Dei they stand and genuflect with the Thurifer as s/he exits. After the Thurifer has exited, Acolytes turn toward one another, pass through the gate and return to their positions next to the Credence. For the remainder of the Mass they revert to being Acolytes.
  • While the altar and celebrant are censed Acolytes prepare the water and lavabo for the Cel’s hand washing. Generally the Acolyte on the East or “upper” side removes the water from the Credence (“A” on spout) and the other Acolyte drapes the purificator over his/her left arm and takes the lavabo in right hand. Note: MC does this if Acolytes are acting as TT.
  • At a signal from the MC, Acolytes ascend steps to two below the Cel. Lavabo is held under Cel’s outstretched hands and water is poured over fingers.
  • After Cel is finished, Acolytes turn and return items to original position on Credence.


  • Stand in position at foot of altar steps indicated by MC.
  • Right after the Benedictus, the MC gives the signal to kneel in position.

PRAYER OF CONSECRATION: Remain kneeling until Agnus Dei

AGNUS DEI: At the beginning of the Agnus Dei, the MC gives the signal to stand. Acolytes return to stand in front of their candles.

COMMUNION: (remain standing)

Acolytes stand in front of their candles as they receive communion, and then count Communicants. Acolytes divide up the counting using the green middle line as a divider. and do not count themselves or any servers.


At a signal from the MC, Acolytes ascend the steps at the end of the altar and receive vessels to be placed on the credence and table. Note: The large glass Flagon and the Ciborium (lidded chalice for wafers),which were brought to the altar during the Offertory, go on the table in front of the Credence. The remaining Chalices go back to where they were placed at the beginning of the Mass.



Immediately after the dismissal and response “Thanks be to God”, Acolytes remove candles from stands and go directly to meet the Crucifer down in the Choir area. Acolytes remember to meet at the space between the altar rail before proceeding in tandem down the steps.


  • The Acolytes & Cr stand facing the altar.
  • At a signal from the MC, the ministers and servers in the lineup genuflect and turn to face the congregation. Acolytes do not genuflect because they are accompanying the Cross.
  • As the lineup turns, the Cr and Acolytes also turn and lead the Recessional down the center aisle, turn left into the Baptistry and stand in front of the Font. The Crucifer sets a moderate and dignified pace which the Acolytes match.


  • When exiting from the Baptistry, Acolytes pause together for Genuflection at the Center Aisle, a Reverence (slight bow) at the side aisle (altar) then continue out the North Door to the Smoke Sacristy.
  • Candles are returned to rack; Cottas removed and placed on hooks.
  • All servers remove items from Sanctuary. (Communion vessels go to the Working Sacristy; Gospel Book, Altar Book, and Intercessions Notebook to Vesting Sacristy; Hymnals and Alms Bason to Smoke Sacristy. Alms are locked in safe.) Wafer Box is left on Credence for the next Mass. If wine is not used from V cruet, it remains also.
  • The Missal Stand is placed on the table in the Smoke Sacristy.
  • The MC is notified of the count of Communicants, if not done previously.
  • Cottas are taken upstairs to hang on the appropriate rack. Cassocks are removed and placed on the rack with others of the same length. Cinctures are replaced over the pegs provided for that purpose.