From the Maundy Thursday service:

  • The High Altar is stripped bare.
  • The aumbry door is wide open.
  • The Blessed Sacrament remains on the Lady Chapel Altar.

The Altar Guild arranges, but the MC should confirm:

  • The hanging lamps are empty, but raised to normal position (they were lowered Maundy Thursday night at the conclusion of that service).
  • Red cushions at the rail for the High Altar are restored for use by communicants at the Mass of the Presanctified.
  • The higher altar cross and the All Saints cross are veiled in black.
  • The crucifix above the Lady Chapel tabernacle will already have been removed from the Altar of Repose.
  • The statue of Our Lady remains veiled in purple.
  • The cross stand is placed in the center of the High Altar retable.
  • The High Altar retable is marked with the location for the placement of candles after transfer of the sacrament during the service.
    • AA should check these out before the service.
  • In the Baptistry is placed a cross veiled in black for veneration.
  • The crypt is unlocked.
  • The lights in the choir and the church are turned on.

The MC then places:

  • Service texts and hymnals in stalls and at sedilia.
  • Crotalus (wooden rattle) on the deacon’s step near the epistle side of the reredos.
  • Lectionary (marked with the appropriate lesson) on the epistle lectern.
  • Black chasuble is laid over Gospel-side altar rail, and black dalmatic and tunicle over Epistle-side altar rail. Maniples are omitted.

At the credence is placed:

  • Black burse containing corporal
  • Ciborium for the crypt
  • Small cruet of water for the post-communion ablutions
  • Lavabo bowl and a towel for the post-communion ablutions

On the table below the credence is placed:

  • Folded fair linen for the High Altar.

In the Lady Chapel:

  • All candles are lit.
  • On stands near altar should be two candles for use during the Transfer of the Sacrament (they will be placed in the marked places as noted above).
  • Any candles placed on the steps outside the Lady Chapel should be lit.
  • A humeral veil (as undecorated and as simple as possible — generally the cream-colored Vimpa is used) is placed on the Lady Chapel steps aligned with the epistle horn.

At the crossing:

  • A prie-dieu is placed at the bottom of the chancel steps, to the left of the gate.
    • This will be moved to the center of the step for the Veneration of the Cross.

There is no crucifer for this service. The MC should appoint one of the CHOIR CLERGY to take any unconsumed sacrament to the Crypt chapel at the end of the Mass of The Presanctified.

SMs initially vest in albs and cinctures and nothing else. The Eucharistic vestments will be donned during the service. CHOIR CLERGY wear surplices, with black stoles in their stalls. SERVERS and CHOIR wear cottas and black cassocks.

CHOIR sings from the south gallery and are not part of the entrance procession. However, they will move to the chancel from the balcony at Communion and will be part of the exit procession.

TH does not carry thurible at entrance.

Important notes about reverencing:

  • At the beginning of the service all reverences will be profound bows until the Cross is unveiled.
  • After the Cross is unveiled, all reverences to the Cross are single genuflections.
  • Once the Blessed Sacrament is present, all reverences change to double genuflections.


ALL enter in silence via the north crossing door and proceed to the chancel the short way:

MC (carrying Service Book or BCP)
TH (without thurible)

AA go into the Sanctuary, reverence (bow) to the altar, and then stand at the bottom altar step near their chairs at the credence. TH goes to CR’s stall. CHOIR CLERGY to choir stalls. MC goes into a choir stall on the Gospel side of the choir. SMs stop on choir floor, where they prostrate themselves. ALL OTHERS kneel.

A painfully long silence is observed, after which the SMs kneel upright in place on the choir floor.

MC leaves choir stall and passes Service Book (or BCP) to CEL, who alone stands and sings the Collect. After the Collect, CEL passes the Service Book (or BCP) to MC. D and SD stand and, led by MC, SMs proceed single file to the altar step, reverence (bow) and then retire to their places at the sedilia. MC puts book on credence table. ALL sit.






ALL remain seated. Towards the end of the tract, three cantors enter, reverence (bow), and kneel at the altar steps. While seated at the sedilia, CEL blesses them in the usual form. Cantors stand and take their places for the Passion Gospel.

ALL stand at the words “Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified.” ALL remain standing through the words “and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” ALL GENUFLECT. A pause is observed. ALL rise, led by CEL.

At the conclusion of the Passion Gospel, the three cantors proceed to the altar rail, where they reverence (bow) and exit via the smoke sacristy.


The Verger does not escort the preacher. ALL sit.


At the start of the motet, ALL stand. SMs don vestments. The CEL is assisted by the MC at the gospel-side rail, and the D and SD assist each other at the epistle-side rail.

During the vesting, the AA pick up fair linen and the Service Book(s) with the Solemn Collects for the D and the CEL, go to center, reverence (bow), ascend steps and spread fair linen and place the Service Books(s) in the center of the Altar, then descend steps at center, reverence (bow), and return to sedilia.


ALL remain standing. SD, CEL, and D line up at altar steps and ascend to the footpace. MC and AA line up at altar steps at sedilia. SMs kiss the altar.

Facing the altar, CEL chants the bidding. After D sings Let us bow the knee, ALL kneel. A pause is observed. When D sings Arise, ALL stand. CEL chants the Collect. This form is repeated throughout the Collects.


After the Collects, SMs descend steps. MC joins them on D’s right. AA remain at credence. During the singing of the Pange Lingua, the SMs and MC reverence (bow), turn, and proceed single file to the Baptistry via the main nave aisle, led by the MC.

Once they are moving up the aisle, the TH, assisted by Verger or choir clergy, move the prie-dieu to the center of the floor at the bottom of the chancel steps.

In the Baptistry, MC hands SD and D the veiled cross, and then hands the intonation card for the Ecce lignum crucis to the CEL.

When all are ready, lead by the CEL, the SD and D carry the cross and to narthex end of the main nave aisle; the MC brings up the rear.

SMs and MC pause at the back of the nave aisle, in line with the first set of pillars. The CEL then turns to face the cross and uncovers the LEFT arm of the cross and sings in a low pitch, Behold the wood of the Cross, whereon was hung the world’s Salvation. ALL respond, O come, let us worship. At MC’s cue, ALL, except SD and D, kneel for a moment in adoration (allowing the congregation sufficient time to kneel in and pause).

MC and SMs turn and proceed to the second set of pillars, where CEL then turns to face the cross and unveils the RIGHT arm of the Corpus, singing the verse at a higher pitch. The previous form is repeated.

SMs and MC proceed to the crossing, where CEL then turns to face the cross and removes the veil completely and hands it to MC. CEL may then either repeat the form above, singing the verse at a higher pitch, or may take the cross from SD and D, elevate it, and sing the verse at a higher pitch during the elevation. The rest of the form is repeated.

Once the three intonations are complete, the SMs proceed to the prie-dieu. The CEL stands facing the prie-dieu, the MC goes to the Epistle side of the prie-dieu, while the SD and D go behind the prie-dieu, and standing on the bottom step facing the congregation they rest the cross on top of the prie-dieu.

CHOIR begins singing The Reproaches.

CEL venerates the cross, then changes places with the D, and holds the cross with the SD while D venerates. The D then changes places with the SD. CEL and D hold cross for the remainder of the Veneration. SD and MC venerate, then stand to either side of the prie-dieu, SD on the Gospel side and the D on the Epistle side, to assist the people.

CHOIR CLERGY, AA, and TH all venerate by quietly exiting the chancel via the All Saints altar and coming across the transept. They return to the chancel by going through the All Saints altar. MC gives the black veil to TH who removes it when exiting to the smoke sacristy after venerating.

As the spirit moves them, the people come forward to venerate.  Ushers do not control traffic in any way.

During the venerations, one A takes the burse to the altar, moves the Service Book to the center of the gospel side, as in the Canon of the Mass, and spreads the corporal in the center of the altar. The A returns to credence. AA sit until venerations are completed.

When all have venerated, the MC leads SD, CEL and D, carrying the cross, up to the altar steps. MC retires to sedilia. SMs ascend to footpace. SD and D assist CEL to place cross on the gradine. SMs descend single file to the sedilia and sit.

*** Once the SMs have returned to the sedilia a choir cleric and the Verger move the prie-dieu aside.
This is frequently forgotten leading to a traffic jam during the following procession.
*** PLEASE make certain that the appointed persons are committed to doing this.


After The Reproaches and the antiphon Crucem tuam conclude, ALL rise. MC cues TH, who enters, reverences, and proceeds to sedilia. CEL puts on incense, but does not bless it.

With one acolyte leading, the altar party files out and lines up at altar steps in the usual order (A, TH, SD, CEL, D, MC, A):

[ altar ]
       A   TH   SD   CEL   D   MC   A

ALL genuflect. They proceed the short way to the Altar of Repose in silence:

AA (without candles)

AA pick up the two candles set aside for them on stands, and take their places near the desks. ALL kneel:

A                                      A

From this point until the Sacrament is removed to the Crypt, all genuflections are double genuflections.

TH hands thurible to CEL. ALL bow profoundly. CEL censes the Sacrament. CEL hands thurible back to TH. ALL repeat profound bow. The general order for censing the Sacrament is always: pass the thurible, bow, cense, bow, hand off thurible.

The MC hands the humeral veil to the D, who then places humeral veil on CEL. SMs rise, go to the footpace, pause, and double-genuflect. The CEL takes up the ciborium, flanked by the D on the CEL’s right and the SD on the CEL’s left. ALL except the SMs now rise, double-genuflect and turn west. During the singing of Vexilla Regis, the S and SD change places behind the CEL, and ALL proceed to the chancel through the Lady Chapel, past the epistle lectern, and through the choir to the High Altar:

AA (with candles)

Once all have left the Lady Chapel, ushers may then extinguish any candles in and around the chapel.

Arriving at the High Altar, AA continue to the footpace and place their candles on in the places marked for them as noted in PREPARATION above. They then turn, descend, and take usual their places at the altar steps and are joined by ALL others:

[ altar ]
       A   TH   SD   CEL   D   MC   A

SMs then go to the footpace, place the Blessed Sacrament on the corporal, remove the veil from the ciborium, double-genuflect, and return to their places at the altar steps as above. ALL kneel.

D removes humeral veil from CEL and passes it to MC who folds it and places it on the deacon’s step. They return to their positions and kneel.

TH gives thurible to CEL. ALL bow profoundly. CEL censes the Sacrament, as at Benediction. ALL repeat profound bow. CEL returns thurible to TH.


ALL remain kneeling. D leads Confession. CEL stands (sideways) and gives absolution.


D and SD rise and accompany CEL to the footpace, where CEL leads the Lord’s Prayer.

At the same time, MC and AA stand, double-genuflect, and go to credence. With them, TH stands, double genuflects, and exits. Ciboria are brought up to the altar. The Sacrament is divided up among the vessels. CHOIR MINISTERS, as needed, approach the altar to receive ciboria.

The TH should return to count communion at the All Saints altar. The TH should then take their usual seat in choir and exit in the usual manner with the altar party.

After CEL announces the invitation, MC rattles crotalus.


CHOIR communicates and then sings Psalm 22 and antiphons from the choir stalls. As much of the Psalm will be sung as is necessary to cover the duration of the Communion.

At the conclusion of Communion, one of the CHOIR CLERGY removes any unconsumed Sacrament to the crypt tabernacle.

Vessels are abluted according to form, except that CEL folds corporal and puts it in burse. The burse and ciboria are removed at the same time to the credence.


Changing position, as at 11:00 Mass, SD takes a place at CEL’s left, and D on right. D and SD empty-handed, and the CEL carrying a the Service Book (or BCP). The SMs descend to bottom of steps, while AA and MC line up a the altar steps and exit as usual:

[ altar ]
       A   SD   CEL   D   MC   A

ALL kneel. CEL sings O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God … The CEL hands the Service Book to the D who passes it to the MC. ALL stand, reverence (single-genuflect) and retire “the short way” as usual for the 11:00 mass, but led by AA alone in the absence of a crucifer:


Original web publication on Nov 12, 1999 @ 01:49pm by Julianne Ture.
Updated Apr 19, 2019 @ 04:30pm by Ciarán Anthony DellaFera, BSG with edits provided by Jason Grant.