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A pictoral guide to sung mass
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At the beginning of mass the servers and celebrant form up at the back of church. Five servers are usually on duty during a Sung Mass, occupying the roles of thurifer (swinging incense), crucifer (carrying the processional cross), taperers (carrying candles) and MC (Master of Ceremonies). The celebrant is dressed in Eucharistic vestments and wears a hat, called a biretta, on his head. The MC rings a bell and the altar party process into the chancel as a hymn is sung.
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On entering the chancel the celebrant removes his biretta and bows to the processional cross.
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Standing at the lowest altar step the celebrant prepares for the mass by making his confession. The people making their confession after him.
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The celebrant goes up to the altar, kisses it and incense is then placed in the thurible and blessed.
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The high altar is censed.
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After the altar is censed the celebrant is censed in turn.
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The celebrant moves to the sedilia on the south side of the chancel and intones the beginning of the Gloria in Excelsis.
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After the Gloria, with the MC holding the book, the celebrant sings the Collect.
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While the MC reads the Epistle reading for the day the celebrant puts on his biretta and sits in the sedilia. The Gradual is sung and the celebrant prepares himself to sing the Gospel.
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The celebrant preceded by the servers goes to the lectern in the nave and sings the Gospel reading.
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After the Gospel the celebrant returns to the sedilia in the chancel and intones the beginning of the Creed.
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During the Creed at the words 'And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man' the celebrant makes a profound bow.
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At the end of the Creed the celebrant goes up to the altar and turning to the congregation asks them to pray for him as he undertakes the sacrifice of the mass.
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When the elements of bread and wine are placed on the altar incense is blessed.
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The celebrant censes the offerings of bread and wine.
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He genuflects and censes the altar.
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The celebrant is censed. The servers and congregation are censed in turn.
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The celebrant begins the Canon of the mass, he silently prays asking God to accept and bless the offerings of bread and wine.
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At Christ's words of institution from the last Supper 'This is my Body do this in remembrance of Me' the celebrant elevates the bread, now consecrated, above his head.
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He does the same with the chalice wine.
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Everybody kneels during the Canon, during the elevations the taperers raise their candles and the thurifer censes.
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The Canon continues. When it it complete the congregation sing the Lord's Prayer and Agnus Dei. The celebrant bestows the peace on the congregation. Then the congregation receive the sacrament.
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When all have received the sacrament the celebrant returns to the altar, he consumes the remainder of the sacrament and washes the vessels. He then turns from the altar and bestows God's blessing on the congregation.
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Returning to the altar, standing towards the north side of it the celebrant reads the opening passages of St John's Gospel, known as the 'Last Gospel'.
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Having descended from the altar and put on his birretta, the altar party then leave the chancel.
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