The Bishop may celebrate with an assistant priest or priests and with extra servers and a master of ceremonies.  The following notes assume a simple celebration without these extra ministers.


The altar should have four rather than two candles

The sanctus bell should be a single bell, ideally small and of silver

A small salver should be placed on the credence table to hold the episcopal ring during hand washings

In vesting the bishop puts on the pectoral cross after the cincture and before the stole and gives the maniple to the server to carry to the foot of the altar.  The stole is worn pendant with the end tucked into the cincture

The chalice is always placed on the altar in advance, rather than carried in by the celebrant, when the bishop is celebrant.  Likewise, the missal is open on the altar

The bishop wears a purple zucchetto and biretta

The Rite.

The form of the rite is identical to that used in a priest’s low Mass with two exceptions:

On days when the Gloria in excelsis is said (i.e., on feast days and on Sundays outside of Advent, Lent, and the Gesimas) the salutation before the collect (but not before the postcommunion prayers or in other places) is ‘Peace be with you’ rather than ‘The Lord be with you.’  On non-festal days and in requiems the salutation is the normal ‘The Lord be with you.’

In the Prayer for the Church (BCP) or in the Gregorian Canon it is fitting for the bishop at the prayer for himself to say in the low voice, ‘And for me, thy unworthy servant’

The Ceremonial.

Since the chalice and missal are already prepared, at the entrance the server proceeds to the gospel side and kneels for the preparation after disposing of the biretta.  The server carries the maniple in from the sacristy to give the bishop during the Preparation

The bishop does not bow to the server at ‘and thee my brother’ in the Confiteor

The bishop is given and puts on the maniple after the absolution following the Confiteor

Mass proceeds as usual through the offertory, save for the salutation before the Collect(s)

At the lavabo while washing his hands the bishop removes his ring and places it on the salver, which the server has placed on the epistle horn of the altar or which another server holds

The bishop removes the zucchetto at the beginning of the Sursum corda dialogue whether he is saying Mass or hearing it said by another.  He resumes the zucchetto after consuming the final ablution or after it is consumed.  (When a bishop is hearing Mass said by another, he also removes the zucchetto during the reading of the gospel)

In the Prayer for the Church (BCP) or in the Gregorian Canon it is fitting for the bishop at the prayer for himself to say in the low voice, ‘And for me, thy unworthy servant’

At the Absolution and Blessing the bishop blesses the people with the tip of his thumb touching the tips of his final two fingers and with the index and middle fingers raised

The sanctus bell is not rung at all at a bishop’s Mass (Low or High) except in the Canon to signal the beginning of the Institution narrative (‘For in the night in which he was betrayed’) and at the genuflections and elevation

After the ablutions the bishop receives a second hand washing, again removing his ring to the salver

The bishop makes a small sign of the cross in blessing over the server when the server bows to him unless his hands or attention are otherwise occupied (e.g., when returning the towel to the server’s arm, the server bows to him and he in turn blesses the server).  The bows and blessings are all omitted at Requiems

At the final blessing the bishop makes three small signs of the cross, rather than one large sign.  He does so facing the people blessing first the epistle side, then the center, and finally the gospel side of the congregation

The bishop leaves the vessels on the altar when returning to the sacristy

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