Question about being a Lector/ EMHC


#1

Hi all,

Our parish is having people sign up for things they are willing to do and I signed up to be a Lector. I was told I had to be a registered member of the parish. Now I don't mind becoming a member but can someone tell me why one has to be a member to be a Lector? I can understand for a EMHC where you would want to ensure that someone serving the Body/Blood of our Lord was known to the community but why someone who is reading?

I signed up for both and I dont mind, I was just curious if anyone knew why Lectors had this rule.

Thanks,
Lorrie


#2

You will be acting in a liturgical role other than as just a member of the laity. Ushers, greeters, choir members, the people who bring up the gifts, etc, are merely acting as part of the assembly. But readers and EMHCs are not assembly roles.

In the case of reader you are filling a role that were once reserved for those who held the minor order of Lector. Your parish ideally wants to make sure you are an adult Catholic in good standing with the Church. That's why they want you to register. They want to know about you and and your character.


#3

Hello there! I too am a lector for my parish and am a registered member. Although we as Catholics place a greater importance on the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the Liturgy of the Word should not be taken lightly as it is the proclamation of the word of God. Now the duty of reader/lector is primarily reserved for a Deacon or other “instituted” reader, however when a Deacon or another instituted reader isn’t present, lay people like you and I will fill in. There is no doctrine or church law that states that a person must be a registered member of a parish to proclaim the word of God, but it states in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, "In the absence of an instituted lector, other lay people may be deputed to proclaim the readings from Sacred Scripture, people who are truly suited to carrying out this function and carefully prepared, so that by their hearing the readings from the sacred texts the faithful may conceive in their hearts a sweet and living affection for Sacred Scripture." I’m guessing your parish just wants to make sure that the person who is the lector is “truly suited” and “prepared” to do so. Hope this answers your question!


#4

[quote="Irishgal49, post:1, topic:294341"]
Hi all,

Our parish is having people sign up for things they are willing to do and I signed up to be a Lector. I was told I had to be a registered member of the parish. Now I don't mind becoming a member but can someone tell me why one has to be a member to be a Lector? I can understand for a EMHC where you would want to ensure that someone serving the Body/Blood of our Lord was known to the community but why someone who is reading?

[/quote]

The reading (unlike the music or the ushering) is an essential element of the Liturgy. It's important that someone fulfilling such an important role be known to the parish. Registration is an easy way to become known to them. It also makes it easy for them to get hold of you, if a sudden substitution is required and when training days are being scheduled.


#5

All of the above are true. Also, you must enroll in Virtus, a program for any adult who is seen by children as an authority figure. The training has been in place in response to the sex abuse scandal. It is very important for all of us to be sure that we will never be the cause of scandal. Reading from the scripture during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is a very important and promiinent role in the Church. We are called to be the body of Christ to others. Why would you not become a member of a parish? Service work in the church is always done by members of the church.


#6

[quote="SMHW, post:2, topic:294341"]
You will be acting in a liturgical role other than as just a member of the laity. Ushers, greeters, choir members, the people who bring up the gifts, etc, are merely acting as part of the assembly. But readers and EMHCs are not assembly roles.

In the case of reader you are filling a role that were once reserved for those who held the minor order of Lector. Your parish ideally wants to make sure you are an adult Catholic in good standing with the Church. That's why they want you to register. They want to know about you and and your character.

[/quote]

I will remind you that Porter and Cantor also used to be minor orders. While the usher today serves no specific role granted by the liturgical books, the music ministers are ministers of the Word just as much as the lector, we lead the Psalm as well as the other liturgical hymns. The assembly's obligation to sing would be quite lost without us.


#7

[quote="Elizium23, post:6, topic:294341"]
I will remind you that Porter and Cantor also used to be minor orders. While the usher today serves no specific role granted by the liturgical books, the music ministers are ministers of the Word just as much as the lector, we lead the Psalm as well as the other liturgical hymns. The assembly's obligation to sing would be quite lost without us.

[/quote]

I'm not sure how much the Porter role resembled the greeters and ushers of today. It's my understanding that more important duties of a Porter were those that sacristans typically perform today. And many of those duties are outside of the liturgy even though they are in support of it.

I will agree that cantors fulfill an actual liturgical role and sometimes an entire choir acts as cantor. And as a long-time choir member I like to think that the choir is important. :p But other than the psalm (and maybe some few other rites when a deacon is not prepared to fill the role) the cantor and/or choir act as part of the assembly even when leading.


#8

[quote="Used2beSherryG, post:5, topic:294341"]
All of the above are true. Also, you must enroll in Virtus, a program for any adult who is seen by children as an authority figure. The training has been in place in response to the sex abuse scandal. It is very important for all of us to be sure that we will never be the cause of scandal. Reading from the scripture during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is a very important and promiinent role in the Church. We are called to be the body of Christ to others. Why would you not become a member of a parish? Service work in the church is always done by members of the church.

[/quote]

While this may be true in your diocese, it is not a universal rule. In our diocese, Virtus is required if you work with children but not for those who serve at Mass as EMHCs, musicians or readers.

As for the OP, the usual rule is that readers are to be practicing Catholics in good standing. Many parishes use registration as a "short cut " way of keeping track of the parishioners in terms of Sacraments received, etc.


#9

Lots of parishes encourage 'registration' as a way to keep track of who is and is not in the parish. It comes in useful for things like the diocesan census that gets taken every couple of years. I wouldn't worry that you are signing up to something too major; in most parishes it is very common (in fact a few churches I know of have registration forms in the church porch for people new to the area).

With regards to reading at mass it is a very special thing to do; you may be nervous when you start, but stick with it and it can be very rewarding for your own spirituality, as well as in the context of serving the community.

Someone mentioned that a Deacon should do the reading if he is there. I don't think that is true - a Deacon should always proclaim the gospel is present, but the first and second (if applicable)readings should be performed by a suitable instituted lector (i.e. not an ordained minister). Someone more learned than me regarding the GIRM might be able to clarify this.

I'd also echo what was said about cantors (and whole choirs) - music is and has always been central to the mass, and a cantor is as important as a lector or acolyte (read: altar server); just because we can get away without cantors at some masses doesn't mean they shouldn't be there, any more than we should just shrug our shoulders if there isn't any altar servers today.

All the best

Martin


#10

[quote="Corki, post:8, topic:294341"]
While this may be true in your diocese, it is not a universal rule. In our diocese, Virtus is required if you work with children but not for those who serve at Mass as EMHCs, musicians or readers.

As for the OP, the usual rule is that readers are to be practicing Catholics in good standing. Many parishes use registration as a "short cut " way of keeping track of the parishioners in terms of Sacraments received, etc.

[/quote]

Standing at the Ambo and participating in the reading of the liturgy of the word seems to be something a child would notice as a person of some authority in the Church. I am surprised that the rule we follow in Arkansas is not wordlwide! I believe any child would necessarily think that a lector was a person in authority of the church. Therefore, the value of taking the Virtus training to avoid any possible transgressions would be advisable. this Virtus training also requires a background check, BTW.


#11

Here in NOVA (northern Virginia) VIRTUS is for those with substantial contact with Children - teachers, catechist, janators, parish staff - not ushers, readers, cantors.

"Now the duty of reader/lector is primarily reserved for a Deacon or other “instituted” reader, however when a Deacon or another instituted reader isn’t present, lay people like you and I will fill in." from Tylerjohnson85

Martin15 that is the line I think you referred too. I agree with you Martin, the deacon if present must read the Gospel, but not the other readings.


#12

[quote="Used2beSherryG, post:5, topic:294341"]
All of the above are true. Also, you must enroll in Virtus, a program for any adult who is seen by children as an authority figure. The training has been in place in response to the sex abuse scandal. It is very important for all of us to be sure that we will never be the cause of scandal. Reading from the scripture during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is a very important and promiinent role in the Church. We are called to be the body of Christ to others. Why would you not become a member of a parish? Service work in the church is always done by members of the church.

[/quote]

I was told we don't have to enroll in that. We have a 2 hour training that we attend at the church, maybe they cover that.


#13

[quote="Irishgal49, post:12, topic:294341"]
I was told we don't have to enroll in that. We have a 2 hour training that we attend at the church, maybe they cover that.

[/quote]

In my parish VIRTUS is recommended for all who are in "ministry" and are likely to be around children. (Part of the training is about how one ought to protect oneself from accusations of child abuse.) But is only required for those who will definitely be working with children.


#14

Great thread, I really appreciate the responses. There isn't any church law about it, so it seems it's more of a way of ensuring that those who are in this ministry are part of the community and are good examples.

Thanks!


#15

[quote="Used2beSherryG, post:10, topic:294341"]
Standing at the Ambo and participating in the reading of the liturgy of the word seems to be something a child would notice as a person of some authority in the Church. I am surprised that the rule we follow in Arkansas is not wordlwide! I believe any child would necessarily think that a lector was a person in authority of the church. Therefore, the value of taking the Virtus training to avoid any possible transgressions would be advisable. this Virtus training also requires a background check, BTW.

[/quote]

Although our diocese requires police & court checks for everyone in ministry and anyone handling money, with an in-depth sexual abuse investigation for those involved with children and vulnerable adults, no one is required to do any training.


#16

[quote="Irishgal49, post:14, topic:294341"]
Great thread, I really appreciate the responses. There isn't any church law about it, so it seems it's more of a way of ensuring that those who are in this ministry are part of the community and are good examples.

Thanks!

[/quote]

:thumbsup: Spot on!

We had a lady in the area that liked reading so much at Mass she was traveling around 5 or 6 parishes so that she could read at least once every Sunday. One day a priest from one parish was presiding at another and recognized her.:o


#17

Thanks so much for all the great replies. I understand about the woman who traveled wanting to read ...I was an ordained United Methodist Elder who pastored 2 churches for 5 years. I LOVE preaching, I miss it with all my heart. My son died and I had a crisis of faith and when it was done I was Catholic...my son had come to me in a dream asking me to have Masses said for him. I am so lost at times with how to use my gifts in the Catholic faith, but I feel that reading is a great way to continue speaking and I love participating in the Mass in this way.

I was at a single's retreat and did a reading and people were saying, "You are obviously a Lector, right?" and I wasn't. I am really looking forward to this.

Thanks everyone,

Lorrie


#18

If you want to be more involved in parish life and 'preaching' (although in the loosest sense of the word - simply passing on the faith), maybe you could look into helping with your parish's RCIA group?

All the best

Martin


#19

If you love preaching because you love to teach others of Christ - i agree with Martin - help at RCIA or teach CCD, especially the older kids who may push your faith (encourage them to ask questions about the faith and your path). I hope you do not love preaching to be up in front of others.


#20

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