Participants in the Holy Mass

Jude Missa

When we attend the Holy Mass, we see the priest, altar servers and lay ministers on the altar. And some of them have different roles. There is somebody who is reading the gospel, the epistles or incensing the people. When you encounter the Traditional Mass, you will see the difference of every role in the altar compare to the Novus Ordo Mass.

Here are the following people who have roles to the Traditional Latin Mass:


The Priest is the representative of our Lord Jesus Christ and the one who leads the mass. The word “Priest” is from the Greek word “Presbyteroi” which means “Elder”. He is the only person who can consecrate the bread and wine and gives Holy Communion to the faithful. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the first Priest in the world. During his ministry, he consecrated his 12 Apostles as priests and they continued to teach, baptize and convert the world for our Lord. Bishops, Archbishops, Cardinals and the Pope are also priest.


A deacon is second of the two last levels in becoming a priest. The word “Deacon” is from the Greek word “Diakonos” which means servant or minister. In a High Mass of the Traditional Mass, he is the main assistant of the Priest. He is always on the left side of the Priest. The Deacon represents the New Testament that is why he is the one who reads the Gospel in the High Mass in Traditional Mass. If a Deacon is not present in the High Mass, a priest will fulfill the role. In the Bible, St. Stephen is one of the first seven deacons.


A subdeacon is the first of the two levels when becoming a Priest. In the High Mass, while the Deacon is assisting the Priest, the subdeacon is assisting the deacon, like holding the Gospel while the deacon is reading. The Subdeacon represents the Old Testament that is why he is the one who reads the Epistles in the High Mass because the Epistles always mention the Old Testament. During the Consecration, the subdeacon will stand behind the priest while holding the paten inside the humeral veil while it also covers his eye sight from the Sacred Host and Wine. There are many symbols about covering the eye sight of the Subdeacon from the Sacred Host and Wine, one of its symbols is in the Old Testament, where the Cherubim where they cover their face from the Glory of God. And in New Testament, it symbolizes when our Lord hide his divinity and when the apostles hide during the Passion of our Lord. If a Subdeacon is not present in the High Mass, a priest will fulfill the role. The subdeacon was removed from the Holy Orders by Pope Paul VI in August 15, 1972.


The Altar Servers are the ones who assist the Priest in the Holy Mass. Also known as the Acolytes. In Tradition, Altar Serves must be male because only the Male who can become a priest. Sadly, during the Vatican II and Novus Ordo Mass, woman can also become altar servers. Every Altar Server has a different role in the Holy Mass:

a. MASTER OF CEREMONIES – The leader of the Altar Servers and the main assistant of the Priest during the Sung and Low Mass in Traditional Latin Mass and in Ordinary Mass in Novus Ordo Mass. He memorized all the prayers in the mass. He his also give signal to the other altar servers and faithful if it’s time to kneel, genuflect or to stand

b. CROSS BEARERS – The one who carries the Crucifix during the opening and closing procession in High Mass and Sung Mass in Traditional Mass, and in Ordinary Mass in Novus Ordo Mass.

c. BOAT BEARER – The one who carries the incense boat.

d. THURIFFER – The one who carries the Thurible or Chain Cener. He is also the one who incense the other altar servers and the faithful in the Holy Mass.

e. TORCH BEARERS – The Altar Servers who carries the candles during the opening and closing procession, and while the Priest gives the Holy Communion to the people.

f. ACOLYTES – Other Altar Servers who gives extra help in the mass like closing the door of the Altar Rails before the Consecration. They also hold the large paten during the Holy Communion.


Group of people who sings in the Holy Mass. They are the ones who leads the singing of prayers in the Holy Mass. The Choir is not available during the Low Mass in the Traditional Mass because the prayers are not sung.


Yes, we are also part of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Together with the priest, we also make a sacrifice.


Also known as Lay People, Lay Person, Extraordinary Ministry and Altar Servers. In Novus Ordo Mass, they are the ones who assist the Priest in the Mass. The Lay Ministers are not Part of the Holy Orders when becoming a priest because most of them are married or people who wants to serve but does not want to become a Priest. The women can also become a Lay Minister which contradicts the Tradition that only men can assist in the Holy Mass. In the Novus Ordo Mass, the Lay Minister can also give communion to the faithful that contradicts the traditional teachings of the Church and the Saints. They also read the Gospel, Epistle and Old Testament, mostly are women. The Lay Minister system only started during the Second Vatican II Council.

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