Please Help! Serving at Mass


I am serving as the MC at a Mass and will need to set the Altar during the offertory.

When I bring the chalice to the Altar, where do I put the chalice veil?

Do I fold it a certain way and leave it on the altar or do I remove it from the altar?

Also, after I unfold the corporal, do I place the chalice in the center and the paten to its left or to its right?

And finally, do I put the pall and the purificator on the corporal, or on the altar (but not on the corporal)?

Thank you!


are you serving as an MC for the Tradtional Latin mass or the new mass?


I think you would leave the chalice veil where you place the wine and bread just before consecration. I would ask your priest about it though, because our parish is small and doesn’t have one. I generally unfold the corporal up, then down, then out, right to left. I generally place the paten in the center, and the chalice in the upper right hand corner of the corporal. The ciborium goes to the side of the paten. You put the pall where I said to leave the veil, because it doesn’t serve an active purpose, and the purificator goes next to the chalice, so that it can be accessed easily.

As for other tips, whenever you stand up, you should hold your hands together without clasping them, in a prayer style, as it looks more dignified, and try not to fidget or look around. Keep your hands in your lap, and be sure you know when to stand. Remember to go wherever altar servers are expected to kneel as soon as you have set up the gifts. When it comes to ringing the bell, ring it when the priest calls for the Holy Spirit to come upon these gifts (he usually makes the sign of the cross over the bread and wine). Ring it again when he lifts up the Body of Christ, and a final time when he lifts up the chalice of the Blood. We usually ring three time, as a sort of Trinitarian thing.

It may be accustomary to make the sign of peace with the first row of the parish at your parish, but do not go around shaking everyone’s hand, as it gets to be too much. I think that that is about it. Above all, remember that you’re serving an important function at your Mass, and that everything you do is in God’s service. Try to show the seriousness and sacred aspect of your function as much as you can, and just do your very best.

Oh, and one more thing: wear black dress shoes. Literally anything else just looks weird. God bless, and I will pray that you do well!

  1. Put the chalice veiled on the altar. Take the corporal out of the burse (if you have one). The burse is placed somewhere on the altar (standing on its own or leaning on a candle).

  2. Unfold the corporal. It should be folded in 3 parts (so you get 9 “squares” when unfolded).

  3. Put the chalice in the center square, or slightly to the top center square. Unveil it and put the veil either on the right side of the altar or on the credence table (near the water and wine). Fold it by taking 2 corners, laying it flat,pulling it over itself one third and then folding a third back (like a “Z”).

4.Put the paten with the host on the bottom center square, between the chalice and the edge of the corporal.

  1. The pall should remain on the chalice all the time, except of course when pooring in wine and water, during consecration and when the priest holds the Host above the chalice.

  2. Purificator should be right beside the corporal, but not on it.


Just my :twocents: but I was always told not to touch the corporal etc. I was permitted to hold open the burse for Fr. to place it back in and I was permitted to transfer the veil back to the priest when re-dressing the chalice, but never before. and I certainly was never allowed to touch the chalice.

I think the OP is talking about the Novus Ordo, so I’m not sure how things will be done. I do know that it’s out of the ordinary for the MC to be messing with the chalice and corporal. If I were him I would place the dressed chalice on the center of the Altar with the front facing the congregation and let Father take care of the rest.


I assumed that we were talking about a Novus Ordo Mass, otherwise I would have said that the OP didn’t had to worry because the priest takes care of it all. What I do when I serve a NOM is putting the chalice on the altar, holding the burse open so the priest can take the corporal and receiving the veil to put it aside. And at the end just the other way around :slight_smile:

So Providence Peep, if you really have to prepare the altar you can follow the steps I posted. That’s in my opinion the best way (because it’s actually what a priest would do if he had to prepare it). But maybe you can ask the priest if he can do it, so you just have to bring the chalice to the altar.

Why is everything so much easier in the extraordinary form? :cool:


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