Should the Gospel be recited from memory?

The deacon in my parish attempts to memorize the Gospel reading for the day’s Mass. When he recites it he often leaves out words and sometimes even sentences. He also has a tendency to change words. What is the proper procedure for reading the Gospel?

The proper procedure is to read what is written on the page of a lectionary approved for use at Mass. While memorizing the Gospel and reciting it from memory is a praiseworthy effort – and while there wouldn’t be anything wrong with doing so if the priest or deacon got it exactly right – your deacon is apparently not able to perform this task adequately for the proclamation of the Gospel at Mass. I recommend that you talk with the pastor and suggest to him that he ask the deacon to read the text.

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