Torch Bearer in depth training
- It was the Jewish custom when preparing for the feast of the Passover that a woman of the household would light candles and set them on the table. The symbolism is that the light of the world - the Messiah - would come into the world by being born of a woman. The Candles come into the church - bring the light, the Messiah, into the world.
- The candles are a symbol of Jesus - he tells us who God the Father is by his word's - he illuminates God for us.
- The candles lead the gospel to the ambo - the candles and the gospel show us who God is - the candles by giving light, the gospel by proclaiming the word - which tells us who God is.
- When someone is baptized they receive a lit candle - and the godparents are exhorted to keep it burning brightly - it is a symbol of ones spiritual life in Christ.
- The gifts are sacrifices that people want to give God. In ages past - people would bring what they could, chickens, pigs, and other things that they wanted to offer to God (that is why this is called the offertory). Now we bring money because it is easier. When you help receive the gifts you are helping God accept the offerings of the people of the church.
Assisting at the altar
- The sacrifice of the Mass - The Eucharist - is the most important thing ever. During the Mass heaven opens up and touches down in the sanctuary - We are in both heaven and on earth during the Mass. The most special part of the Mass is the consecration where the Holy Spirit makes the bread and wine, the body and blood of Christ. He is there! To assist at the altar - to be so close to these miraculous things is the greatest blessing ever.
Make sure you:
- Fold your hands correctly at all times when not carrying something
- When walking in the sanctuary don't hurry - but don't stroll - walk purposefully with dignity
- With your feet flat on the floor
- Up straight
- With your hands on your knees or with your hands folded as if you were standing
Carrying the candles
- Keep the flame above your mouth and nose so that you will not blow it out.
- Hold the candle with both hands - one towards the top, one towards the bottom. If you can, use the base of the candle.
- Make sure you hold the candle up straight - do not tip it backwards or forwards, to the right or to the left.
- Do not hold it to close to yourself. You may catch your hair on fire. Be careful!
- walking slowly - follow the cross bearer - space yourself evenly - both Torch Bearers should walk side by side.
- above your nose
- up straight
- perpendicular to the floor
- hands spaced well
- pause at foot of sanctuary - no bow
- place the candles in the holder
- sit together
Hold the Candles
- Immediately when the priest stands, or, when the Alleluia begins both Torch Bearers go to get their candles.
- Stand in front of the candle stand holding your candle and wait for whom ever will read the gospel.
- The priest or deacon will pick up the book, show it to the people and then go to the ambo. You are to escort him there. So when he takes the first step towards the ambo, get in front of him and lead him to the ambo. One candle will be on one side and one on the other.
- Stay holding the candles at the sides of the ambo while the gospel is being read.
- As soon as the Deacon or Priest is finished he will say 'The Gospel of the Lord.' You may return the candles back into their holders and return to your seat.
- Watch for when the cross bearer leads the people with the offerings to the first step of the sanctuary.
- When the priest stands and moves to receive the gifts get up and meet him at the bottom step. He will usually need 2 servers plus the deacon. The priest or deacon will hand you the bread or the wine. Carry it back to the altar. Do not place it on the altar. Stand behind the altar and wait for the deacon to take it from you. Once he takes what you are holding go to the credence table to bring the water and towel.
- One server is to pick up the bowl and water - the other server the hand towel. Together go back to the altar and stand, waiting for the priest. Don't wait to do this - do it right away and stand there quietly for the priest.
- Pour the water onto the fingers of the priest. Pour a lot of water - don't worry about splashing. Pour it on his fingers not on the palms of his hands. Hold the water up a little high so that the people can see the water making a stream. When the priest wants you to stop he will move his hands up towards the curette. Stay there until he is finished drying his hands.
- If you are holding the towel. Wait while the priest washes his hands then let him take the towel from you. When he is done he will either put it on your arm or hand it to you. You do not need to bow.
- Both servers take the water and the towel back to the credence table together.
- Go back to your seats.
- After the deacon dismisses everyone - He is the last one to speak. The choir will begin to sing - Watch the priest, as soon as he begins to move to the altar - quickly (with dignity) get the candles and walk down the steps - turn around and face the altar and wait until the priest comes down the steps - after he bows you turn and walk slowly out to the lobby.