What functions within the mass may a non-catholic fill?


these functions include:

  • eucharistic ministry
  • lectoring
  • presenting the gifts
  • greetings
  • ushering
  • taking the collection

As well as any others you may think of.

I left the church in July 2016, but I have continued attending mass every week with my parents. Recently, a parish member asked me to present the gifts, and this week, I was asked to take the collection (My father, who usually fulfills these duties, was out with shoulder surgery).


EMHCs, Lectors, Altar Servers, and I’m tempted to say Cantors all must be Catholic. Ushering I’m not so sure, anyone can present the gifts (typically Ushers choose someone before Mass) and also take up the collection. Welcome back!


It depends on the parish. Where my wife is a member they require a person be a confirmed Catholic to volunteer in all ministries (music may be the only one where they allow a non-Catholic to volunteer)

I thought about volunteering to usher until I found out the requirements.


In general the decisions about who does what are made by the Parish Priest, following the General Instruction of the Roman Missal:

“107. Liturgical functions that are not proper to the Priest or the Deacon and are mentioned above (nos. 100-106) may even be entrusted by means of a liturgical blessing or a temporary deputation to suitable lay persons chosen by the pastor or the rector of the church.[footnote 89 …] As to the function of serving the Priest at the altar, the norms established by the Bishop for his diocese should be observed.”

Doing the readings is the best documented I have found. Perhaps it would guide the Parish Priest in deciding the other functions. From the General Instruction of the Roman Missal:

“99. The lector is instituted to proclaim the readings from Sacred Scripture, with the exception of the Gospel.”

Only men can be instituted as lectors, not women. No one should be ordained as a Deacon or Priest unless he has been instituted as a lector.

“101. In the absence of an instituted lector, other lay people may be deputed to proclaim the readings from Sacred Scripture ….”.

Regarding non-Catholics there is the “DIRECTORY FOR THE APPLICATION OF PRINCIPLES AND NORMS ON ECUMENISM” at http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/documents/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_25031993_principles-and-norms-on-ecumenism_en.html

It discusses how non-Catholic Christians can participate in Catholic ceremonies and vice-versa.

Under the heading

“Sharing in Sacramental Life, especially the Eucharist

a) Sharing in Sacramental Life with members of the various Eastern Churches”

it has:

“126. Catholics may read lessons at a sacramental liturgical celebration in the Eastern Churches if they are invited to do so. An Eastern Christian may be invited to read the lessons at similar services in Catholic churches.”

Under the heading:

“b) Sharing Sacramental Life with Christians of Other Churches and Ecclesial Communities”

It has:

“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.”

[Excerpts from The Roman Missal © 2010, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved.]


attending, responding and singing.


Many are involved in music and end up coming into the Church that way.


Of this list, being an extraordinary minister is definitely out for a non-Catholic. Reading is possible but unlikely; typically, a non-Catholic would only do that in select situations, like maybe a wedding. The other things can be done by anyone.

Per your OP, you aren’t a non-Catholic anyway; just one in need of reconciliation.


I am a non-Catholic who attends Mass with my Catholic wife. One Sunday several years ago they were short on ushers and I was asked to assist with the collection. Much to my surprise, I found myself on the next published schedule and have been ushering ever since.

There was recently an item in the Sunday bulletin asking for volunteers to be ushers, readers, altar servers, and Eucharistic ministers. It was mentioned that volunteers must be “confirmed Catholics in good standing.” Maybe I’ll be grandfathered in.


This is was the way of some in my church.


In books regarding readers at weddings and funerals, it is usually suggested that the person be Catholic or if not, someone who has faith and believes. That goes for presenters of the Gifts in my church in addition.


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