Servers' Grades

In order to encourage servers to progress to deeper knowledge of the liturgy, and to make themselves available for the worthy service of God in a wider range of liturgical celebrations, the Society of St Tarcisius has created a series of grades (steps), with servers promoted from the lower to the higher as their knowldge and experience increases. This progression is certified by the Society following a brief test.

Terminology
‘Low Mass’: Missa Privata, without singing or incense; one or two acolytes.
‘Sung Mass’: Missa Cantata, with singing; with or without incense; without deacon and subdeacon; MC, Thurifer, two acolytes, possibly boat-bearer and torchbearers.  (American usage: ‘High Mass’)
‘High Mass’: Missa Solemnis, with priest, deacon, and subdeacon: servers as for Missa Cantata. (American usage: ‘Solemn High Mass’.)
‘Pontifical’ and ‘Prelatial’ (as in Low Mass, High Mass, Vespers, etc.): celebrated by a bishop or Cardinal respectively.

Supporter
A supporter does not feel called to serve at the Altar, but nonetheless wishes to further the aims and objectives of the Society of Saint Tarcisius. Supporters may wish to provide material support to the Society, or even more importantly pray for the spiritual and temporal needs of the Society.

Postulant
The Postulant wishes to join the Society, but does not yet meet the requirements for Junior Acolyte, undertaking training with a view to taking the necessary test. A probation period of six months is recommended, although this can be shortened or lengthened depending upon the individual Postulant’s ability and commitment.

Junior Acolyte Medal and cord: as members of the Society of St Tarcisius, Junior Acolytes are entitled to wear the Society’s Medal when serving (with the permission of the celebrant). Junior Acolytes wear the medal with a green cord.
Test: to become a Junior Acolyte, a server must demonstrate a thorough familiarity with the responses at Low Mass and the following roles:
(a) serving Low Mass by himself, or as 1st or 2nd Acolyte;
(b) Incense-boat bearer at Sung and High Mass; and
(c) Torchbearer at Sung and High Mass.

Senior Acolyte
Medal and cord: Senior Acolytes are entitled to wear the Society’s Medal with a pale blue cord.
Test: to become a Senior Acolyte, a server must demonstrate a thorough familiarity with the following roles:
(a) 1st and 2nd Acolyte at Sung and High Mass
(b) Thurifer at Sung and High Mass, including Requiem Mass
(c) Assistant server at Benediction

Junior Master of Ceremonies.
Medal and cord: Junior Master of Ceremonies are entitled to wear the Society’s Medal with royal blue cord.
Test: to become a Junior Master of Ceremonies, a server must demonstrate a thorough familiarity with the following roles: (a) MC at Sung Mass, including Requiems;
(b) All the serving positions at Benediction;
(c) A deeper knowledge of the roles he has already learned, include some less common variations on them, including variations for Passiontide, the Low Mass of Requiem, and Ember Days.

He will have grown in virtue and have demonstrated his self-discipline, reliability and punctuality, and his intelligence and reverence while serving.

He will in addition focus on developing his character, and establishing a devotional practice to the Sacred Heart, the Immaculate Heart, or a suitable alternative.

In addition to passing the test, a prospective Junior Master of Ceremonies must present a letter of recommendation from a priest.

Senior Master of Ceremonies
Medal and cord: Senior Masters of Ceremonies are entitled to wear the Society’s Medal with a silver cord.
Test: to become a Senior Master of Ceremonies, a server must demonstrate a thorough familiarity with the following roles:
(a) MC at High Mass;
(b) All roles at Pontifical Low Mass and at Mass in the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament Exposed;
(c) All roles at Vespers and Pontifical Vespers;
(d) Assisting at the Rite of Marriage, of Baptism, at Confirmation, and at Burials; (d) Acolyte and thurifer at Holy Week services.

In addition he will be involved in the training and development of the lower ranks, and will develop his love and appreciation of the spirituality of the Mass through spiritual reading and prayer.
He will continue his daily devotional practices and learn and use the Prayers at Mass from the Treasury of the Sacred Heart or some suitable alternative.

Grand Master of Ceremonies Medal and cord: Grand Masters of Ceremonies are entitled to wear the Society’s Medal with a gold cord.
Test: to become a Grand Master of Ceremonies, a server must demonstrate a thorough familiarity with the following roles:
(a) MC at the Pontifical and Prelatial High Mass;
(b) MC at the services of Holy Week;
(c) MC at the Rite of Marriage, of Baptism, at Confirmation, and at Burials; (d) All roles at Compline and other Offices when said publicly.

In addition, the Grand MC will be an authority on the spirituality of the Mass, and well established in his spiritual life.

He will be involved in the development of the lower ranks by teaching and assessing Junior MCs for progression to the rank of Senior MC.

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