Recently I noticed something new being done at Mass. The people who bring the Gifts now just come up to the Altar and put down the Altar Cloth and leave the Gifts at the Altar, they bow and then leave. Is this right?
Assuming you mean the white tablecloth for the altar, the covering of the altar should be done before Mass and not during.
In response to a similar question, Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University says the following:
"During Sunday Mass, at the preparation of the gifts, a given family comes up to cover the altar. First, they put down an altar cloth, always the color of the day or feast. Then, they put down a corporal. Then they set down several pacificators which will be used at Communion time. “
*GIRM * No. 117, treating of the articles to be prepared before Mass, states: “The altar is to be covered with at least one white cloth. In addition, on or next to the altar are to be placed candlesticks with lighted candles: at least two in any celebration, or even four or six, especially for a Sunday Mass or a holy day of obligation …”
No. 118 continues: “On the credence table: the chalice, a corporal, a purificator, and, if appropriate, the pall; the paten and, if needed, ciboria; bread for the Communion of the priest who presides, the deacon, the ministers, and the people; cruets containing the wine and the water, unless all of these are presented by the faithful in procession at the Offertory; the vessel of water to be blessed, if the asperges occurs; the Communion-plate for the Communion of the faithful; and whatever is needed for the washing of hands.”
Thus it is clear that these things should be prepared beforehand and not during Mass. Likewise the preparation of the altar, especially the extending the corporal and preparing the sacred vessels, is preferably undertaken by the deacon or, if lacking, by the acolytes.
The altar should be habitually covered even outside of Mass, although it is customary in many places to protect the white altar cloth outside of Mass by covering it with another cloth. This cloth should be removed some time before the Eucharistic celebration begins.”
As for the faithful leaving the Gifts at the altar, the *General Instruction of the Roman Missal * says, “The offerings are then brought forward. It is praiseworthy for the bread and wine to be presented by the faithful. They are then accepted at an appropriate place by the priest or the deacon and carried to the altar.”