My son attends a Catholic university, and he told me that he attended the university chapel’s penance service. He was disturbed by what went on.
The penance portion was preceded by a liturgical service, which was led by a woman, who was wearing an alb. She led the opening prayer, including saying, “The Lord be with you,” to which the people responded “And with your spirit.” A layperson said the reading, then the woman gave what amounted to a homily (called a “reflection” in the program). A layperson read the examination of conscience, then the woman led the people in saying the I Confess. She then said a closing prayer which again included saying “The Lord be with you,” and the response “And with your spirit.” Then the Our Father was said, then confessions began, and there were several priests available to hear confessions.
My question is, can a layperson, specifically a laywoman, lead a penance service? And is it proper for any layperson to say “The Lord be with you” and the people respond to a layperson “And with your spirit”?