Catholic Mass funeral readings


I was curious if a non-catholic, Lutheran can do a reading at a Catholic funeral mass? My impression was that do be a lector one must be a confirmed catholic.

No one in my family is a trained lector actually but we still were going to do the readings, is that ok?


You have my condolences. I’m so sorry for your loss.

Ideally, it would be a confirmed male Catholic who has been instituted to the ministry of lector. However, there are next to none of those in this country.

Second best, it would be a confirmed Catholic who is trained in how to read at Mass and does so regularly.

I don’t think one even has to be baptized to read at Mass, but I’m not sure, so definitely speak to your priest about who can be a reader at this Funeral Mass.


The rule stated in the Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism is:
133. The reading of Scripture during a Eucharistic celebration in the Catholic Church is to be done by members of that Church. On exceptional occasions and for a just cause, the Bishop of the diocese may permit a member of another Church or ecclesial Community to take on the task of reader.


When my cousin got married the priest was willing to have her atheist sister do a reading? So I’m not sure why it wouldn’t be allowed for a funeral…


This is what the Church says with regards to this matter. It’s not uncommon during certain ecumenical times of the year, another Christian may be permitted by the bishop to do a reading. Personally, I dread this because usually the person gets up to the ambo and starts off telling a story about how happy they are to be there, etc etc…

Anyway, you don’t need to worry about no one being able to serve as lector in your family. Parishes have people whom they can call on to provide this service.


This is not appropriate and the priest should not have permitted such.


He may not have been informed that she was an atheist.


Thanks for the replies. We are fixing things to make sure it is appropriate! I just wanted to know the rules for sure


Funerals and weddings are the times when non-Catholics may be allowed to read the First and Second Readings and the Prayers of the Faithful. While it belongs to the Bishop to give permission, he may have given the priests of his diocese his guidelines and let them decide each case.

I have to admit that I’ve never known a family to be asked the religion of the persons they had chosen to do the readings at weddings and funerals in this area.


That has been my experience as well. My cousin’s atheist sister was not asked her religion. She was simply asked if she wanted to do a reading because she was part of the wedding party. :shrug:

The priest found out after that she was atheist and let it go.

I assumed in the context of a wedding it could be permitted.


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