Having seen a little of some of the essential qualities of a good MC, it is now time to look at the practical role of the MC during the ceremony itself. To be able to fill the role of MC properly, one must study all the necessary rubrics (the rules relating to the actions of the Mass.) This is of utmost importance since it is impossible to direct without having depth of knowledge to do so.
Before Mass it is the duty of the MC to arrive in good time and delegate the various preparatory jobs to the other servers. He himself, beside checking all preparations when they are complete, must pay special attention to the Missal, vestments and the sacred vessels, ensuring that all is in good order for the Mass. Then he must ensure all the servers are confident in their roles, before going to help the celebrant vest.
Once the procession steps out into the church, from then on the MC is ever at the side of the celebrant, assisting him by holding intonation cards, the incense boat and handing him items such as the thurible. The MC turns the pages of the Missal for the priest, which is especially important during the Canon of the Mass, when particles of the Host could well be on the priest’s fingers. In addition, the MC gives discreet signals to the other servers at the appropriate times for their own actions. He must ensure that all happens in a smooth and orderly fashion, without any actions appearing rushed or disjointed, or indeed in any manner which distracts from the sacrality of the Mass.
Some rubricians have less set rules for the MC than others, and only really state that he should attend to the priest at all times. Yet all agree, if a problem should arise on the altar, then the MC should attend to it, but only if he considers the problem great enough to cause a disturbance. If the matter is only small, it is better to leave correction until after Mass.
The MC is there in a position of leadership, and must never forget that he is an example to all on the altar of how the ceremony should be conducted, right down to the finest detail, even of walking!