ACOLYTE DUTIES - ROMAN MISSAL
(additions in parentheses)
The acolyte is instituted for service at the altar and to assist the Priest and Deacon. It is his place principally to prepare the altar and the sacred vessels and, if necessary, to distribute the Eucharist to the faithful as an extraordinary minister. In the ministry of the altar, the acolyte has his own proper functions, which he must carry out in person. (General Instruction of the Roman Missal)
For the other ministers: albs or other lawfully approved attire. All who wear an alb should use a cincture and an amice unless, due to the form of the alb, they are not needed.
When the people are gathered, the Priest and ministers, wearing the sacred vestments, go in procession to the altar in this order:
a) the thurifer carrying a smoking thurible,
if incense is being used;
b) ministers who carry lighted candles,
and between them an acolyte or other
minister with the cross;
c) the acolytes and the other ministers;
d) a reader, who may carry a Book of the Gospels (though not a Lectionary),
e) the Priest who is to celebrate the Mass.
At the Liturgy of the Eucharist:
When the Universal Prayer is over, all sit, and the Offertory Chant begins. An acolyte or other lay minister places the corporal, the purificator, the chalice, the pall, and the Missal on the altar.
If incense is being used, the Priest then puts some in the thurible, blesses it without saying anything, and incenses the offerings, the cross, and the altar. While standing at the side of the altar, a minister (acolyte) incenses the Priest and then the people.
Sign of Peace:
The Priest may give the Sign of Peace to the ministers (acolytes) but always remains within the sanctuary, so that the celebration is not disrupted. In the Dioceses of the United States of America, for a good reason, on special occasions (for example, in the case of a funeral, a wedding, or when civic leaders are present), the Priest may offer the Sign of Peace to a small number of the faithful near the sanctuary
When receiving Holy Communion, the communicant bows his or her head before the Sacrament as a gesture of reverence and receives the Body of the Lord from the minister. If Communion is given only under the species of bread, the Priest (or acolyte) raises the host slightly and shows it to each, saying, The Body of Christ. The communicant replies, Amen, and receives the Sacrament either on the tongue or, where this is allowed, in the hand, the choice lying with the communicant. As soon as the communicant receives the host, he or she consumes the whole of it.
In the distribution of Communion the Priest may be assisted by other Priests who happen to be present. If such Priests are not present and there is a truly large number of communicants, the Priest may call upon extraordinary ministers to assist him, that is, duly instituted acolytes or even other faithful who have been duly deputed for this purpose.In case of necessity, the Priest may depute suitable faithful for this single occasion.
These ministers (acolytes) should not approach the altar before the Priest has received Communion, and they are always to receive from the hands of the Priest Celebrant the vessel containing the species of the Most Holy Eucharist for distribution to the faithful.
Upon returning to the altar, the Priest collects the fragments, should any remain, and he stands at the altar or at the credence table and purifies the paten or ciborium over the chalice, and after this purifies the chalice, saying quietly the formula Quod ore sumpsimus, Domine (What has passed our lips), and dries the chalice with a purificator. If the vessels are purified at the altar, they are carried to the credence table by a minister (acolyte). Nevertheless, it is also permitted to leave vessels needing to be purified, especially if there are several, on a corporal, suitably covered, either on the altar or on the credence table, and to purify them immediately after Mass, after the Dismissal of the people. (The acolyte may assist in drying the vessels and returning them to the credence table.)
*The Roman Missal: English translation according to the 3rd typical edition. Catholic Book Publishing Corp. New Jersey 2011