From a reader:
Fr. Z, my dad has recently been ordained to the permanent diaconate; however, he was never instructed in the Extraordinary Form. Are there detailed rubrics for the role of deacon in the EF, and where could I find them? My dad has a pastor who is willing to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form.
Congratulations to your father.
The role of deacon is, frankly, the most demanding of the three sacred ministers during a Solemn Mass. Having a live tutor will help for the trickier parts.
You can find fairly detailed descriptions of what deacons are to do during Solemn TLM’s in the reworking of Fortescue/O’Connells’ Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described done by Alcuin Reid.
One of the best ways, however, would be to work with a priest or deacon, who himself as taken the role.
In the meantime, I would get busy learning to sing Gospel tones and making sure to know the different forms of the Ite for the end. The Ite is normally the same tone as the Kyrie at the beginning. And there is always the Exsultet if you need something to work on.
Another point I would think about ahead of time would be what to do with a biretta, putting it on the right way, getting used to taking it off before standing up, not sitting on it, that sort of thing. There are few sounds as disappointing as that crunching sound.
And avoid moving too stiffly or with too many sharp angles like a wind-up toy, or rushing around as if there were a fire … Vigil of Easter notwithstanding.