The Subdeacon: His Duties at the Solemn Eucharist
No place: no publisher, 1962.
Many of the Clergy and Lay Members of the Order of Saint Vincent have requested this compact brochure. It eliminates having and searching several books on the subject.
It was compiled according to the Liturgy of the Episcopal Church in the United States.
It is a commendable guide, subject to adaptation, compiled by the Rev’d Robert L. Ducker, C.S.S.S., O.S.V., Priest Associate, and Mr. John L. Hain, Acolyte, O.S.V., both having exercised this Office frequently.
May it be a blessing in union with the Liturgical Movement which we believe to be the inspiration of God, the Holy Spirit.
The Rev’d Harry S. Ruth,
Director-General, The Order of Saint Vincent for Acolytes
November 14th, 1962.
The Commemoration of the Bestowal of the American Episcopate, A.D. 1784.
1.1 The Mass as we know it today began to take form in the middle of the second century, and has remained constant in its essentials since the beginning of the seventh century. Thus it is evident that the Mass, having been in regular use by the undivided Church, is the common heritage of all branches of the Catholic Church. It is true that many miner variations in practice were accepted not only within the undivided Church, but even within the Western Church during its unity under the leadership of Rome. However, over the centuries, those differences tended to disappear, and the Roman rite was celebrated with increasing uniformity throughout Western Europe.
1.2 Subsequent to the Reformation, the English Church became rather lax in its celebration of the Mass, while the Roman Church insisted on an even higher degree of uniformity, without, however, introducing innovations. It is therefore convenient, and certainly quite acceptable, for Anglicans to use current Roman Catholic texts as guides, not in the adoption of a new custom, but in the full restoration of these Sacred Rites which were the most revered in the English liturgy for over one thousand years. Such manuals of ceremonial include: “The Celebration of Mass”, by the Rev. J. B. O’Connell (Bruce Publishing Co., Milwaukee, 1956); “The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite”, by Adrian Fortescue & J. B. O’Connell (The Newman Press, Westminster, Maryland, 1958); and “The Book of Ceremonies”, by L. J. O’Connell & W. J. Schmitz (Bruce Publishing Co., Milwaukee, 1956). A conflation of the first and second of these, with alterations and adaptations necessitated by slight divergences in the Anglican Rite or in Anglican custom, was published as “Ritual Notes”, (W. Knott & Son, Ltd., London, 1956).
1.3 The Subdeacon of the Mass may be either cleric or layman, but if the latter, he does not approach the chalice between the Offertory and the completion of the Ablutions, nor does he wear the maniple. Throughout this discussion, where such a difference between cleric and layman occurs, the appropriate paragraph will be given in both variants with “c” and “L” appended to the paragraph number.
2.0 Preparations for the Solemn Mass
The Subdeacon looks over the Epistle and any other lesson he may chant, then washes his hands, saying the prayer, “Cleanse my hands, O Lord, ____”
2.1.1 The Subdeacon then vests in amice, alb and cincture, saying the specified prayers as each garment is put on. The amice may be worn in one of two ways. The cross in the middle is first kissed and then the amice is touched first to the back of the head and then dropped to the shoulders. It is then tucked in around the collar and the strings are crossed over the breast and brought around the back and tied in front. Or, the amice may remain on the head as if it were a hood, the strings tied as usual, and when all the vestments are in place, it may then be dropped back and lie as if it were indeed a hood. Either practice is acceptable; therefore the Subdeacon should follow the celebrant’s preference. The cincture is held double, then placed around the waist, with the tasseled ends held in the right hand. A loop is made in the left end and the tassels pulled through. After being cinched up firmly, any excess length may be disposed of neatly by looping each end up through the cincture at either side and allowing a convenient fall of each tassel. The tunicle is then put on, inserting the right arm first,’ and being certain that the tassels fall down the back. The specified prayer is said.
2.1.2c After the Celebrant has vested, the Subdeacon kisses the cross on the maniple and puts it on his left forearm, saying the specified prayer.
2.1.2L The layman omits the maniple.
2.12L The Subdeacon picks up his biretta and with his right hand holds it against his breast. Standing to the Celebrant’s left in front of the Crucifix, he awaits the MC’s signal to proceed.
2.2 The Procession to the Altar
The MC standing at the Subdeacon’s left, will bow toward the Celebrant, and the Sacred Ministers bow in unison toward the Crucifix. The Subdeacon bows to the Celebrant when the latter turns to him, and finally all Sacred Ministers bow to the Servers.
2.2.1 If the Asperges does not precede the Mass, the MC will offer Holy Water to the Subdeacon who in turn will pass it on to the Deacon by the touch of his wet finger. The Sacred Ministers will sign themselves with the Holy Water before assuming their birettas. The biretta is always worn straight and level.
2.2.2 If the Celebrant is wearing a cope (as when the Asperges is to be given) the Subdeacon walks at the Celebrant’s left holding the edge of the cope, orphrey out, with his right hand. If the Celebrant is vested in the chasuble, the Subdeacon walks immediately in front of the Deacon, just in back of the MC.
2.2.3 When the Procession passes clergy in choir it stops on a signal from the MC; the Sacred Ministers uncover , bow to the clergy, first to the side of greater dignity and then to the other, then cover and continue to the altar.
2.2.4 Arriving at the altar, the Subdeacon goes to the left of the Celebrant, uncovers when he does so, and hands his biretta to the MC. When the MC extends his hand toward the altar, they all genuflect on the floor. The Subdeacon always holds the Celebrant’s cope during a genuflection.
2.3 The Asperges
When the choir has completed the processional hymn, the Sacred Ministers kneel on the bottom step and the Subdeacon holds the book for the Celebrant to sing the appropriate passages. When the Celebrant rises, the Subdeacon places the book face down on the steps and crosses himself when sprinkled. The Deacon and Subdeacon rise, genuflect, turn with the Celebrant, change place behind the Celebrant, and escort him down the aisle holding the cope as before. They will bow with him whenever he bows, and when the choir sings the Gloria, regardless of where they are, the Sacred Ministers will face the altar and bow moderately. Upon reaching the back of the church, the Deacon and Subdeacon will again change places behind the Celebrant and escort him back to the altar. They will stop at the rail to sprinkle the Servers, then advance to the foot of the altar. During the genuflection, the Subdeacon retrieves the book, and standing at the Celebrant’s left, holds it for him. Upon the completion of these verses, the Sacred Ministers genuflect and move to the sedilia. The Subdeacon carries the closed book in his right hand and the edge of the cope in his left. On arrival at the sedilia, he hands the book to the MC, unclasps the cope, and after kissing the maniple, hands it to the Celebrant. The Deacon and Subdeacon then assist the Celebrant into the chasuble. The Sacred Ministers will turn and stand facing across the sacristy, each with his hands joined in front of his breast.
2.4 Preparatory Prayers
When the MC bows, the Sacred Ministers, walking side by side, advance to the foot of the altar and genuflect on the bottom step. Standing at the Celebrant’s left, the Subdeacon makes the responses to the Celebrant’s preparatory prayers. He signs himself and bows in unison with the Celebrant and Deacon until the completion of the Gloria. He remains standing straight during the Celebrant’s confession, and at its conclusion, bows moderately toward the Celebrant and says, “Almighty God have mercy ...” He then bows profoundly toward the altar and says the confession. At the words “you father,” he turns toward the Celebrant. He remains bowed until the Celebrant says, “The Almighty and merciful Lord grant you . . .”, when he stands erect and signs himself. He bows moderately as the Celebrant says the remaining versicles.
3.0 THE MASS OF THE CATECHUMENS
If either the Collect for Purity and/or the Summary of the Law are said at the foot of the altar, the Subdeacon remains in his place at the Celebrant’s left. When the Celebrant ascends the steps, he goes up at his side, standing at the altar as the Celebrant kisses it. The ascent to the altar is begun with the right foot. While incense is blessed he stands somewhat in back of and to the right of the Celebrant lifting the edge of the chasuble if necessary as the Celebrant places the incense in the thurible.
3.1 The Censing
During the tensing, the Subdeacon goes at the Celebrant’s left, bowing or genuflecting when he does so. During the genuflections he places his right hand lightly under the Celebrant’s left elbow. He also holds the edge of the chasuble with his right hand if this is necessary. Often with a less ample chasuble this causes more difficulty than it offers help, and the Celebrant’s preference should be ascertained. The Subdeacon then descends the steps at the Epistle side with the Deacon; they turn inward toward each other and stand facing the Celebrant. They bow to the Celebrant and the Deacon censes him. They bow afterward.
3.2 The Introit
The Subdeacon descends either to the floor of the sanctuary, or if there are many steps, to a step lower than that on which the Deacon is standing. He stands somewhat to the right of the Deacon so that the Sacred Ministers actually form a semi-circle. He signs himself and makes all bows in concert with the Celebrant and Deacon. He answers the Gloria Patri if this is the custom, and likewise responds to the Kyrie when it is said by the Celebrant.
3.3 The Gloria in Excelsis
Toward the end of the singing of the last Kyrie, the MC bows to the Deacon and Subdeacon who walk around on their respective steps to stand in a line behind the Celebrant. At the MC’s next bow, the Sacred Ministers, remaining on their respective steps, turn left, walk to the center, and then turn to face the altar, remaining in back of one another. When the Celebrant intones the opening phrase. The Subdeacon bows his head at the word “God” and turning to the left takes one step, turns again toward the altar and ascends the steps so as to arrive at the Celebrant’s left. The Deacon and Subdeacon say or sing the Gloria in Excelsis with the Celebrant, bowing their heads at the usual places and signing themselves at the end.
If the Gloria in Excelsis is said rapidly and the Sacred Ministers are to sit for the protracted singing, all genuflect after the recitation (or bow when this is the proper reverence) and go directly to the sedilia. The Subdeacon when turning will always do so in such a manner that during the turn he is facing the Celebrant even though the latter is facing the Deacon and thus presenting his back to the Subdeacon. In descending the steps, the Subdeacon should adjust his pace so that his motion from step to step coincides with that of the Celebrant. Upon arrival at the sedilia the Deacon and Subdeacon lift the back of the Celebrant’s chasuble as he is seated. The Subdeacon receives his biretta from the Acolyte, and after the Celebrant is seated and has covered, he and the Deacon bow to each other, sit, and cover. The Subdeacon removes his biretta and bows whenever the Celebrant does so. Toward the end of the Gloria in Excelsis, at the MC’s bow, the Sacred Ministers will uncover and rise; at the MC’s next bow they will advance side by side to the foot of the altar and genuflect on the lowest step (i.e. touching the knee to the bottom step rather than the floor; except for the first and last, genuflections throughout the Mass are made in this manner). The Sacred Ministers immediately ascend the steps, but this time the Subdeacon goes up only as far as his step, waits until the Deacon has arrived at the top step, and then turns right as the Deacon turns left, and remaining on his step, walks to the center and finally faces the altar in line with the Deacon and Celebrant. This is always the position for the singing of the salutation “The Lord be with you.”
3.4 The Collect(s)
Immediately after the salutation, the Sacred Ministers turn to the right in unison, and remaining in line and on their respective steps, walk to the Epistle side. They turn to face the altar, then bow toward the Crucifix as the Celebrant sings, “Let us pray.” The Subdeacon will make any bows or genuflections made by the Celebrant and Deacon (for example, at the Holy Name).
3.5 The Epistle
Toward the end of the final Collect, the MC will bring the Book of Epistles to the Subdeacon, who turns to the right and steps down onto the floor to face the MC as he approaches. He receives the book from him and holds it in front of his breast with the open edge to his left. The MC passes behind him and stands at his left and slightly behind him. At the conclusion of the Collect, when the Holy Name is mentioned, or at the words “in the unity,” the MC and Subdeacon proceed to the center and reverence the altar. If there are clergy in choir, they bow to each side in order of dignity and proceed to the place where the Epistle is to be sung. The Epistle may be sung from inside or outside the sanctuary. A place in the Epistle side of the choir, near the congregation, is to be preferred. The older custom was to sing the Epistle facing the altar, but Anglican usage and recent Roman trends favor facing the people. The MC stands at the Subdeacon’s side to turn the pages if necessary. The Epistle is sung on one note throughout, except for questions. Here the last phrase is lowered one note until the third syllable from the end which is lowered another note; the next to the last syllable is back up one note, and the final syllable starts on the same note as the next to last and is slurred up onto the note used throughout the Epistle. When the question contains less than four syllables, an appropriate abridgement must be made. At the conclusion of the Epistle, the MC and Subdeacon bow to the clergy in choir, return to the foot of the altar and genuflect in the center. The Subdeacon goes around and up to the Epistle corner where he waits until the Celebrant has completed the Gradual, then kneels. The Celebrant places his right hand on the book, and the Subdeacon kisses it. After being blessed by the Celebrant, the Subdeacon rises, bows to the Celebrant, turns and hands the book to the MC, bowing as he does so. The Subdeacon then returns to the altar, picks up the Missal, descends to the center, reverences the altar, and ascends to the Gospel corner where he places the book at the usual angle on the Gospel side. He remains there to attend the Celebrant if the custom is to read the Gospel privately.
3.6 The Gospel
If the Gospel is not read privately, or after it is concluded by the Celebrant, the Subdeacon places the Missal at the left of center and attends the Celebrant as in paragraph 3.1 for the blessing of incense. He then descends to the foot of the altar and awaits the arrival of the Deacon bearing the Book of Gospels. They genuflect, turn toward each other, and follow the procession to the place of the Gospel. The Subdeacon stands between the Acolytes with their candles. He receives the book from the Deacon and holds it open against his breast (not in the exaggerated position against the forehead which was once the practice). At the conclusion of the Gospel, the Deacon will point with his hand to the beginning of the Gospel. The Subdeacon, holding the book in his left hand, places his own right hand there to keep the place and goes immediately, not waiting for the others, to the Celebrant at the altar on the way. He holds the book for the Celebrant to kiss the beginning of the text. He then closes the book, bows to the Celebrant and stands at the Celebrant’s left, facing the Deacon, until after the latter has finished censing the Celebrant. (He does not bow with the Celebrant). The Subdeacon then hands the book to the MC, bowing as he does so, and after genuflecting toward the altar, he goes directly to his step and stands behind the Deacon facing the altar.
3.7 The Creed
If the Creed is to be sung, the same procedure is followed as at the Gloria in Excelsis, paragraph 3.4; the Deacon and Subdeacon bow at the word “God” and go to stand at the right and left respectively of the Celebrant. When the Sacred Ministers say the Creed rapidly, they observe the usual bows and sign themselves at the end, but they bow rather than genuflect at “....and was conceived....”. The Subdeacon, turning toward the Celebrant, will descend one step with the other Sacred Ministers, and kneel with them on the footpace. The Sacred Ministers will rise after the choir has sung “....and was made Man” and go directly to the sedilia as in paragraph 3.4.
3.8 The Sermon
If the Subdeacon is to preach the sermon he rises on signal from the MC, removes his maniple if he is wearing one, and his tunicle if he so desires. He follows the MC to the pulpit. If the Celebrant preaches, the Deacon and Subdeacon rise when he does, assist him in removing the chasuble, and remain standing until the Celebrant has left with the MC. They may then sit.
4.0 THE MASS OF THE FAITHFUL
Historically the Creed appeared after the sermon and the dismissal of the catechumens, but Anglican usage has transposed the Creed and the sermon.
4.1 The Offertory
At the conclusion of the sermon, the preacher returns to the sedilia, reverencing the altar as he passes. The other Sacred Ministers rise at his approach, and when the Celebrant has preached, the Subdeacon picks up his maniple, kisses it, and hands it to the Celebrant. The Deacon and Subdeacon then vest the Celebrant in the chasuble. The Sacred Ministers then turn and face across the sanctuary. When the MC bows toward them, the Subdeacon walks at the Celebrant’s left to the foot of the altar and genuflects with him. The Sacred Ministers then take up the position for the salutation.
4.1.1 When the Celebrant says “Let us pray”, the Deacon and Subdeacon bow their heads, then genuflect on the step. The Subdeacon goes immediately to the credence where the Acolytes assist him to assume the humeral veil. After the MC has removed the veil from the chalice, the Subdeacon takes the knob of the chalice in his left hand, drapes the right end of the humeral veil over the pall, and places his right hand on top of the veil to hold it in place and steady the chalice. (If the corporal is still in the burse, he may place the burse on top of the veil and his hand on the burse). He goes to the Epistle corner of the altar and sets the chalice down in front of the Deacon. He hands the burse to the Deacon if he has brought it and removes the humeral veil from the chalice.
4.1.2C The Subdeacon wipes the chalice with the purificator and hands both to the Deacon. The Subdeacon receives the cruets from the First Acolyte with a bow, hands the wine cruet to the Deacon, saying (after the Celebrant has lowered the Host onto the altar) “Bless, Reverend Father”. After the blessing, he pours a few drops of water into the chalice, and receives the wine cruet from the Deacon.
4.1.2L After the Deacon has wiped the chalice, the Subdeacon hands him the wine cruet, and holds up the water cruet toward the Celebrant, saying (after the Celebrant has lowered the Host onto the altar) “Bless, Reverend Father”. After which he trades cruets with the Deacon. The Deacon pours the water and returns that cruet to the Subdeacon.
4.1.3 The Subdeacon returns the cruets to the First Acolyte with a bow, and turning to the Deacon, accepts the paten. The Subdeacon covers the paten with the right end of the humeral veil in such a manner that his hand does not touch the paten and that both hand and paten are concealed by the veil. Holding the paten against his breast, and covering his right hand with his left, the Subdeacon returns by the shortest way to the center at the foot of the altar, genuflects, and stands there until the consecration. After the genuflection he raises the paten in front of his face, supporting the right elbow with the left hand.
4.1.4 After tensing the Celebrant, the Deacon will cense the clergy in choir, then return to the Epistle side of the sanctuary to cense the Subdeacon; The latter lowers the paten to his breast, and holding his left hand over it, bows to the Deacon before and after being tensed. The Subdeacon then turns toward the altar, raises the paten in front of his face as before, and remains standing through the Prayer for the Church.
4.2 The Sanctus
While the Celebrant is saying, “Therefore with Angels and Archangels....” the MC will turn and bow toward the Deacon and Subdeacon. The Subdeacon lowers the paten to his breast, genuflects, and goes directly to the Celebrant’s left at the altar. The Sacred Ministers bow low and say the Sanctus. The Subdeacon does not cross himself at the “Blessed is he...” Immediately after the “Hosannah” the Subdeacon returns to the foot of the altar by the shortest way, genuflects on his step, and raises the paten in front of his face.
4.3 The Consecration
At the beginning of the consecration the Deacon will move from the Celebrant’s left to his right, genuflecting on the top step as he passes behind the Celebrant and immediately kneeling on the footpace. The Subdeacon, on his own step, will kneel with the Deacon and remain kneeling, holding the paten before his face, until after the second elevation. The Subdeacon, while kneeling, will also bow, except that he may look up briefly during the elevation of the Sacred Elements. The Subdeacon will rise with the Deacon after the second elevation.
4.4 The Lord’s Prayer
During the Lord’s Prayer the MC will turn and bow toward the Deacon and Subdeacon. The latter will lower the paten to his breast, genuflect, and go directly to the Epistle corner of the altar where he hands the paten to the Deacon. The Thurifer will remove the humeral veil from his shoulders. The Subdeacon returns directly to the foot of the altar and genuflects on his step.
4.5 The Agnus Dei
When the Celebrant signs himself with the paten, the Subdeacon also makes the sign of the cross. When the Celebrant sings “The peace of the Lord “, the Subdeacon genuflects, simultaneously with the MC and goes to the Celebrant’s left, genuflecting with the Celebrant and Deacon, after the chalice has been covered following the commixture. Since he has displaced the MC at the Celebrant’s left, he will turn the page of the Missal at this point. He then says the Agnus Dei with the Celebrant and Deacon, striking his breast as usual. He then genuflects and returns to his place at the foot of the altar.
4.6 The Kiss of Peace
The Deacon descends to the right of the Subdeacon who turns to face him. The Subdeacon bows, receives the kiss and bows again. He genuflects on the lowest step with the Deacon and, accompanied by the MC, goes to give the kiss to the clergy in choir if any are present. The kiss is to be given in order of descending seniority, but if there are many, the Subdeacon may give it to one priest on each side of the choir, and they may in turn pass it to an adjacent priest, and so on down each side. In giving the kiss, the one giving it does not bow. After the recipient has bowed, the giver places his hands on the shoulders of the one receiving it, who in turn places his hands under the elbows of the giver. Both lean toward each other so that each has his face over the other’s left shoulder, but they do not embrace closely. The giver says, “Peace be with thee.” and the recipient replies, “And with thy spirit.” They then disjoin arms, step back, and bow toward each other. The Subdeacon returns to the foot of the altar, genuflects, turns to his right and gives the kiss to the MC.
4.7 The Communion
4.7.1C The Subdeacon genuflects on his step and goes up directly to the altar at the Celebrant’s right, genuflecting again on arrival. If he is to receive Holy Communion he strikes his breast three times during the “Lord, I am not worthy”; otherwise he does not do so. He bows profoundly toward the Sacrament while the Celebrant receives the Host. He uncovers the chalice for the Celebrant and genuflects with him, then bows profoundly while the Celebrant takes the Precious Blood. When the Celebrant has completed his communion, the Subdeacon genuflects, and changes places with the Deacon. They pass behind the Celebrant, the Subdeacon using the lower step, and genuflect upon their return to the footpace.
4.7.1L The Subdeacon genuflects on his step and goes up directly to the altar at the Celebrant’s left, genuflecting again on arrival. If he is to receive Holy Communion he strikes his breast three times during the “Lord, I am not worthy.”; otherwise he does not do so. He bows profoundly toward the Sacrament while the Celebrant makes his communion. The Subdeacon will move back and slightly to his left at any time the Celebrant steps back to give the Deacon free access to the center of the altar, and will move back to the altar with the Celebrant.
4.7.2 After the Celebrant has made his communion, the Deacon and Subdeacon move out to the corners of the altar and bow slightly toward the Crucifix while the Deacon leads the communicants in the General Confession. They return to the center of the altar when the Celebrant begins the Absolution. When the Celebrant picks up the ciborium, the Subdeacon picks up the paten, and turns with the Celebrant to face the communicants. He holds the paten level in both hands and at breast height during “Behold the Lamb of God . ...” The Subdeacon descends the steps at the Celebrant’s side; and remains on his right throughout the communion of the people. He holds the paten under the chin of each communicant as the Celebrant places the Host in his mouth. The Subdeacon, at the Celebrant’s left, returns with him to the altar and genuflects with him on arrival. When the Deacon returns to the altar with the chalice, the Sacred Ministers again genuflect. The Subdeacon will step back and slightly to his left when the Celebrant steps back to give the Deacon free access to the Tabernacle.
4.8 The Ablutions
As soon as the Tabernacle is closed, the Deacon and Subdeacon change places, the latter genuflecting on the lowest step as he passes the center (reverse of his path when transferring the Missal in paragraph 3.6).
4.8.1 Arriving at the Celebrant’s right, the Subdeacon receives the cruets from the First Acolyte, pours a little wine in the chalice, and then wine followed by water over the Celebrant’s fingers. He then hands the cruets back to the Acolyte and places the purificator over the Celebrant’s fingers. The Deacon and Subdeacon again change places, the latter again genuflecting on the lowest step.
4.8.2C The Celebrant will go to the Epistle end of the altar, and the Subdeacon will move to the center where he will wipe the chalice, lay the folded purificator over it and place the paten on top.
4.8.2L The Celebrant will wipe the chalice and cover it with the purificator amd paten, then move to the Epistle end of the altar as the Subdeacon moves to the center.
4.8.3 The Subdeacon will move the chalice off the corporal to the left and drape the veil neatly over it. He will then fold the corporal and slide it into the burse which in turn is placed on top of the chalice. Taking the knob of the chalice in his left hand and placing his right hand on the burse, he turns to the right and descends to the floor. He genuflects on the lowest step in the center and carries the chalice to the credence. The Subdeacon then takes up his position on the lowest step directly behind the Deacon.
4.9 The Final Prayers
The Subdeacon remains in this position for the Thanksgiving and/or the Communion Verse. He turns with the Celebrant and Deacon, moving on his step to the center for theSalutation. He then turns with the Celebrant and Deacon and moves back to the Epistle side. After the Final Collect he again turns with the Celebrant and Deacon and returns to the center, remaining on his step facing the altar while the Deacon sings the Dismissal.
4.10 The Blessing
When the Celebrant begins the Blessing, the Deacon and Subdeacon will turn and move in opposite directions slightly away from the center, the Subdeacon turning toward the Gospel side and ascending to the Deacon’s step. Both will kneel on the top step for the Blessing.
4.11 The Last Gospel
Immediately after the Blessing, the Subdeacon will rise and go to the Gospel corner of the altar to hold the card for the Celebrant. He will make the responses, but will neither sign himself nor genuflect. When “Thanks be to God” is said, he replaces the card on the altar and moves toward the center, then immediately turns with the Celebrant and descends the steps at his side, turning back to face the altar at the foot.
5.0 The Departure
Although not part of the Mass, in some parishes it is customary for the Celebrant to lead the people in seasonal or other appropriate devotions while standing at the foot of the altar.
5.1 Upon the completion of these devotions, the MC hands the Subdeacon his biretta, and the latter holds it against his breast. When the MC extends his hand toward the altar, the Sacred Ministers genuflect on the floor, then turn toward the people, putting on their birettas as they do so.
5.2 As the MC leaves the foot of the altar in the procession, the Subdeacon steps into line behind him. If there are clergy in choir, the procession will stop, and turning toward the side of greater dignity, the Subdeacon will doff his biretta and, holding it against his breast, will bow. He will turn with the others to the lesser side, and again bow. After putting on his biretta he will continue in procession to the sacristy.
5.3 On arrival before the Crucifix in the sacristy he will again doff his biretta and, standing at the Celebrant’s left, will bow with him. When the Celebrant turns toward the Subdeacon they bow toward each other, and finally all the Sacred Ministers bow toward the Acolytes.
5.3.1c The Subdeacon immediately removes the maniple.
5.4 The Subdeacon, assisted by an Acolyte, removes his vestments, makes his accustomed thanksgiving, and departs.