Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Server Master Class for the usus antiquior

On Saturday 15th May, at Blackfriars in Oxford, with the assistance of Fr Armand de Malleray, Mr David Forster and Br Lawrence Lew OP.

The day will consist of a session on Missa Cantata from 11.30 to 1 and a session on Solemn Mass from 2 to 3.30.

Training will assume familiarity with serving Low Mass, and will focus on the more difficult roles in Sung and Solemn Masses, such as thurifer and MC.

All are welcome, please contact me so we have an idea of numbers.

Training servers has always been an ad hoc matter in the Latin Mass Society; with the rapidly expanding number of Sung and Solemn Masses, we need to be more systematic, if we are to meet the demand without making excessive demands on anyone. We always have sessions for server training at the St Catherine's Trust Summer School (photos); this is the first LMS training day for servers, and I hope it will be the first of many.
Learning to serve Low Mass is best done on the job. You can study the rubrics and the responses, but to learn it you need to do it, preferably with another, more experienced server, and preferably at least once a week for a couple of months. In the old days, of course, with large numbers of Low Masses, mostly private, taking place daily in Catholic schools and parish churches, learning to serve was easier than it is today, but the number of Low Masses taking place in Oxford is steadily increasing and anyone wanting to learn should again contact me for a pointer.

Sung and Solemn Masses requires much more coordination with other servers, as well as involving more complex ceremonies, and being 'on the job' usually means being in front of a sizable congregation, so a serious effort to learn one's role in advance is needed.

Books on serving from Southwell Books:

Cheap and helpful: 'How to Serve Low Mass and Benediction'

Comprehensive: 'How to Serve in Simple, Solemn, and Pontifical Functions'
Or: Learning to Serve: A Guide for Altar Boys

With card and CD: 'Serving at the Altar: Low Mass with One Server'

Servers' cards (95p each).


  1. Athanasius10:08 pm

    Dr Shaw

    I would dearly love to learn to serve the TLM, but would I be ineligible for this master class, as I have never served Low Mass before (I have - rather badly - served a Missa Cantata)?

  2. Joseph Shaw1:37 pm

    Well the idea is that the instructors will be able to assume people there know how to serve Low Mass. Where do you live? As I say in the post Low Mass training is usually not too difficult to get but it does take regular practice, at least for a spell.

    Learning to serve Low Mass really drills into one the structure of the Mass - what happens in what order.

  3. Athanasius11:07 pm

    Fair enough. I'm based in Oxford: the only reason I haven't put myself forward to the Oratorians is that I'm very frequently out of Oxford at weekends, which makes it hard to commit to anyone on a stable basis. I have been practising to the FSSP training video though!

  4. Joseph Shaw10:04 am

    Email me and we'll arrange something. Weekends are not even the best time to find Low Mass in Oxford.