• Thurifer wears a special cotta, one with slits in sleeves to allow for easier arm movement.
  • Th starts 4-5 coals for the opening procession around 8:40. Thoroughly-burning coals are essential for “good smoke”.
  • Th joins all the servers in the Vesting Sacristy for prayers led by Cel, but leaves Thurible in the Smoke Sacristy. At the conclusion of the prayers, the SM (Sacred Ministers) will go to the Smoke Sacristy to lay on the incense.
  • While others gather in the hallway in preparation for the entrance, the Th remains in the Smoke Sacristy until the end of the Prelude and a signal by the MC to come down to the entrance door.


  • The Th leads the procession and sets a dignified pace that neither drags nor races. (A diagram of the path is in the notebook under General Notes for all servers.)
  • After passing through the Communion Rail, Th turns left and stands even with the end of the altar. (One of the Acol will stand to the left of the Thurifer.) While waiting for the others to arrive, the Thurifer may allow the Thurible to swing very gently.
  • The final lineup on the pavement is as follows. (TT are outside Altar Rail.)

[ altar ]


• After the Deacon places the Gospel Book on the altar, the MC signals all to genuflect. The SM then go up the steps and everyone else turns right and proceeds to the south end of the altar.


  • The Celebrant gives the Opening Acclamation and the Collect for Purity, then the Sacred Ministers move from the “slant I” to the center of the steps. At the beginning of the Gloria they gather at the footpace (the top of the altar steps) for the censing of the altar. At this point the Celebrant turns to receive the Thurible. The MC gives the signal for the Th to ascend the steps and hand it to the Cel. (The MC goes up the steps at the same time to remove the Missal Stand.)
  • While the altar is being censed the Th stands to the left of the MC and back, close to the chairs, to provide room for the Deacon to come down the for the censing of the Celebrant.
  • After receiving the Thurible from the Deacon, Th goes to the center just in front of the gate, genuflects, turns right, and exits through the altar gate to the Smoke Sacristy. Th closes the door to block out the noise of cleaning the pot.


  • After cleaning the pot the Th puts in 2-3 new lighted coals.
  • The door to the Chancel may now be reopened so that the Th can hear the reading of the Epistle and be ready to enter at the end.


  • As soon as “Thanks be to God” has been said, marking the end of the Epistle, Th enters carrying the Thurible in the left hand and Incense Boat in the right hand at chest level. Acol will meet the Th at the foot of the steps and all three will genuflect together.
  • Th then moves to the SM, handing the boat to the Deacon to hold for the Cel. while he lays on the incense. Deacon hands boat to MC to hold until the Th has lowered the cover over the incense.
  • Th goes to the foot of the altar steps, and stands next to the Acolyte at the left end. Note the tighter formation; don’t spread out too far.
  • The MC signals a genuflection, then turns and proceeds down the center aisle with the Acol following.
  • Th, carrying the incense in the left hand at chest level, follows the Acol, allowing the thurible to swing very gently with a much smaller arc than usual. Th takes a position next to the pews on the right, slightly behind the Deacon once s/he is in position.
  • On the return to the altar, the order is the same except that the MC follows the SD.
  • All should take positions at the foot of the altar steps -in a tighter lineup than for the procession out because the SubDeacon is now standing at the side, and the Deacon may be preaching. Once all are in the lineup, the MC signals for a genuflection. The Th turns right,passes through the gate of the railing, and exits to the Smoke Sacristy.


  • During the sermon, the incense pot is cleaned, and 5 new coals are set out in an empty bowl. (Besure the door is closed during this noisy procedure.)
  • During the Creed, Th gets the coals burning vigorously. (Some Th like to light one coal sooner as a starter.)
  • After the Peace, TT exit directly to smoke sacristy without genuflecting and pick up lighted torches. Note: If TT are inexperienced Th should be ready to give prompts.


  • At MC’s cue, Th leads TT from sacristy to center of rail. Th moves above rail pausing slightly to allow TT to get in position below rail so all can genuflect together.
  • Th goes to the right to have incense laid on. (After incense is laid on, the MC places the boat on the table below the credence.)
  • Th returns to center position and at a signal from the MC, Th & TT genuflect together.
  • Th proceeds the two TT through the choir, down the steps, turning left toward the lectern then right to go down the South aisle to the Baptistry. As soon as the ushers are finished in the center aisle,
  • Th and others get in position. At a signal from the Verger, the Th leads the Offertory Procession to the altar.
  • Th turns right outside the altar rail and proceeds to the end of the rail where s/he stands and waits for the elements – bread, wine, and money – to be handed to the Sacred Ministers. At a signal from the MC, all genuflect and the Thurifer passes the altar rail into the sanctuary and stands next tothe MC.

OFFERTORY HYMN: (Most of the censing done by the Thurifer takes place at this time.)

  • The Celebrant prepares the bread and wine, then turns to receive the Thurible.
  • Celebrant – with D & SD either side – censes the altar.
  • Deacon comes down steps and censes Cel.
  • Thurifer gives two doubles to Deacon, one double to SubDeacon.
  • Th moves to opening in altar rail, turns left 45°, gives a nod to CM or anyone standing there, and then – using a shorter chain – swings center, left, and right
  • Th faces altar, reverences Cross, then turns right 45° and in like manner censes MC and Acol.
  • Th genuflects and proceeds to Chancel for censing of all in the choir areas.
  • Rector, if present in his stall in choir, is first and receives two doubles.
  • If there are any visiting clergy, they are censed after Rector with two doubles.
  • Other priest(s) in choir receive two doubles.
  • Deacons in choir receive two doubles.
  • Both sides of choir receive a gentle short-chain swing to center, left, right. Th reverences cross on altar whenever turning from one side to the other.
  • Congregation receives full, long-chain swing to Center, left, right.

• Th returns to position next to MC, genuflecting inside altar rail in passing. Notes:

  • When censing with short chain Th holds thurible at chest height, not knee height.
  • Th nods before & after censing any individual or group.
  • As Th turns from one side to the other, s/he always turns toward the altar.
  • If additional incense is needed before the consecration, the MC adds it.

Sursum Corda, Preface, Sanctus, and Benedictus:

Th stands in position at south side of altar next to MC, allowing the Thurible to have a short, very gentle swing from side to side.


  • Right after the Benedictus, the MC gives the signal to kneel in place.
  • Thurible is in hand with short chain in preparation for the Consecration.
  • The elements are censed during the Consecration. Censing might NOT be with the Celebrant’s kneeling and/or with the bells. The first double is done as the priest rises from firstgenuflection, the second when the element is raised, and the third immediately following.


Thurible is held and very gently swung or it can rest on steps – one or two up from where Th iskneeling.


  • At the beginning of the Agnus Dei, the MC gives the signal to stand.
  • Th goes to the center, genuflects and exits through altar gate with TT following.
  • Coals & incense are dumped into the pail of water, and Th returns to stand near Bishop’s throne to receive communion. (Th may be asked to count in All Saints’ Chapel if Cr is unavailable.)
  • After receiving communion, Th exits again to for cleanup, making sure the smoke sacristy door isclosed to block out any noises.

POST-COMMUNION PRAYER, BLESSING, and DISMISSAL: Thurifer reenters and kneels on the bottom step next to TT.


• When SM kiss the altar and descend the steps for the lineup, the Th lines up to the left of the Sub-Deacon. (TT pick up torches and stand outside railing.)

[ altar ]

Th SD Cel D MC

• Th recesses with MC, following Verger, CM, Choir Clergy and TT.

AFTER FINAL PRAYERS (back by the Baptistry):

  • Th helps collect vestments from Clergy by holding both arms out for clergy to place vestments.(Avoid touching garments with your fingers which generally are dirty from charcoal!)
  • When exiting from the Baptistry, genuflect when passing the high altar, reverence (slight bow) at the side aisle (All Saints Altar) then continue out the North Door to the Smoke Sacristy.
  • Vestments are carried to the Vestment Sacristy and placed on the back of the chair by the desk.
  • Th finishes cleanup of thurible and and returns it to its place in the closet
  • If there are items remaining to be removed from the Sanctuary, Th helps in this process. (Thurifer’s cotta is removed and placed on a hook before going out to the Sanctuary.)
  • Items to be taken to the Sacristies: (Note: Box of Hosts remains on Credence; also the wine cruet if none was used.)
    • -Communion vessels go to the Working Sacristy
    • -Gospel Book, Missal, and Intercessions Notebook to Vestment Sacristy
    • -Missal Stand, Hymnals, and Alms Bason to Smoke Sacristy
  • Cotta is taken upstairs and hung with the other Thurifer Cottas. Cassocks are removed and placed on the rack with others of the same length, and cinctures are hung on the pegs designed for that purpose.