Is it licit to change the words of the readings?


I took my homeschooled children to the local parish for their “all school Mass” today. During the first reading in particular, the reader interjected words that are clearly not part of the reading. The reading was about how we all have different gifts, but we’re of the same Spirit, and the reader interjected things like “some of us are from this town (and used the name of our town), some are from out of town, some are Native American, and some are …” something else I can’t remember. I was thinking that it did not seem right that the words of the reading were changed. This was all within the reading, not as part of the homily explaining the readings. I know the Gospel was “tweaked” a bit too, in order to sound more “child oriented” but that always bothers me too. But this first reading was blatantly changed. Is this licit?


At first when I started reading your question I thought the answer was going to be that the reading was probably from the Lectionary for Masses with Children. However, what you describe is most definitely not from that Lectionary.

Therefore, I can most assuredly say that what they did was illicit.

Can. 846 §1. In celebrating the sacraments the liturgical books approved by competent authority are to be observed faithfully; accordingly, no one is to add, omit, or alter anything in them on one’s own authority.


Since May 19, 2002, the revised Lectionary, based on the New American Bible is the only English-language Lectionary that may be used at Mass in the dioceses of the United States, except for the current Lectionary for Masses with Children which remains in use.

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