Prerequisites for readers/lectors at mass?

A 14 year old at our parish wishes to be a reader/lector at Sunday Mass and is willing to go through the training process. However, she isn’t Confirmed yet but says she will start those classes next fall. I’ve scoured the USCCB web site for lector requirements but can only find requirements for the “Order of Lector” not the usual reader at Mass. My personal opinion is that a reader/lector at Sunday Mass should have received all the Sacraments of Initiation. Does anyone know where I can find guidelines for this on the internet?

I am not completely sure but I believe just as any other ministry that is public the Bishop usually confirms these positions for ministry. God bless.

I don’t know about all dioceses, but in ours, it’s the pastors decision. However, we don’t have a pastor and our “acting pastor” believes it would be OK. But I still think that liturgical ministries should be reserved for “Confirmed Catholics”.

I have been wondering about this sense a disguised poster was sharing his sympathy for Mormonism and saying he was lectoring at a Catholic Mass. Finally he was spotted as a Mormon site with an icon of Joseph Smith next to his name, sharing his experiences (negative) among the Catholics at CAF.

There were members on CAF picking up that something didn’t add up on that guy. They weren’t nice.

My personal opinion is that I would agree but I would also give obedience to whatever my pastor or Bishop decided first.

I did not see this but what does this have to do with this particular topic -was he claiming to a lector?

According to my parish priest (Pastor), you must be confirmed to be a lector.


  1. In the absence of an instituted lector, other laypersons may be commissioned to proclaim the readings from Sacred Scripture. They should be truly suited to perform this function and should receive careful preparation, so that the faithful by listening to the readings from the sacred texts may develop in their hearts a warm and living love for Sacred Scripture.[86]

Catechism of the Catholic Church

1285 Baptism, the Eucharist, and the sacrament of Confirmation together constitute the “sacraments of Christian initiation,” whose unity must be safeguarded. **It must be explained to the faithful that the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace.**89

1306 Every baptized person not yet confirmed can and should receive the sacrament of Confirmation.123 Since Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist form a unity, it follows that "the faithful are obliged to receive this sacrament at the appropriate time,"124** for without Confirmation and Eucharist, Baptism is certainly valid and efficacious, but Christian initiation remains incomplete. **

Does a person need to be confirmed to be a Lector?

None of the liturgical documents insist on Confirmation as a prerequisite, although it is desirable that a Lector have received the Sacrament of Confirmation. A Lector needs to be in good sacramental standing with the Church so he or she can fully participate in the celebration. At weddings and funerals, however, a non-Catholic Lector may proclaim one of the readings or offer the petitions, with the permission of the pastor.

  1. Lectors are fully initiated, practicing Catholics whose lives witness to the Word which they proclaim. On special occasions and for pastoral reasons, a young person who is not yet fully initiated (i.e., not yet confirmed) may serve as lector during a liturgy. Proper training for this ministry is expected.

We have some young (unconfirmed) readers at our parish, as with the OP, it’s the decision of the pp. I don’t believe there to be any law expressly allowing or forbidding it.

I agree that to perform a public ministry in church one should be in good standing with the Church, but this 14 year old is (as far as we know) in this position. She is not yet confirmed because she has not reached the age for confirmation, not because she has willfully chosen not to receive the sacrament. Surely a distinction should be made between people who are progressing in their faith according to the law of the church and direction of their pastor but who have not yet reached the fullness of participating in all the sacraments of intiation because of their age and people who have decided they don’t want to be confirmed etc.?

Thank all of you who researched this question with me and those who offered their opinions. This information is quite helpful because I coordinate this ministry of reader/lector at our parish and the final decision is up to me. You have all been very helpful and I am truly grateful for your coments.

“A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench.”

I might be taking that a little out of context, but my point is: unless this girl is being pressured into lectoring by her parents, it would appear she is genuinely interested in helping with the celebration of Mass by being a lector. This might be a sign that she takes her faith seriously, which is a good quality to be found in any liturgical minister.

In Catholic grade schools usually students are the readers on the Mass. The majority of them is not confirmed. These are masses scheduled for the children.


Thanks for the reference…what concerned me was that the Mormon was participating in the liturgy, and I found that very inappropriate, especially when his comments to CAF for questioning his theology labelled everyone uncharitable back on his mormon site…with Joseph Smith no less as his icon.

People like this should not be lectoring at all. It is to be for Catholics. I can see a pastor giving permission for a wedding or funeral as it is for the specific family. But not pretending to be Catholic and participating in general liturgies…never heard of such a thing.

Agree that the young girl should be allowed to lector if she is in process of becoming fully initiated in church and really wants to do readings.

One thing added, is that the pastor knows the person’s situation, and so people have to trust the pastor’s decision. All else is none of our business.

Similar experience in my parish. In the Mass with children, we have very young readers. They have to go to same training as the grown up lectors in the other masses, though.


Yes, but the person in this situation is not a lector, but a reader. Lectors, according to Canon Law, are only male (among other requirements).

There are no explicit prohibitions. Pastoral judgment is the final rule in this case, so it’s up to those of you at your parish. Best wishes.

Canon law does not actually distinguish between a lector and a reader. In the Latin of the CIC, there is only one word for these: lector, which means “reader.”

Exactly. Canon law describes a lector (who must be male). It has nothing to say about “readers” at Mass (who may be male or female).

That’s the reason I wrote “readers/lectors” instead of “The Order of Lector” when I posted the original thread! Anyway, I think I’ve gotten plenty of opinions from this forum on this question to make a more informed decision on this matter. THANK YOU!

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