In my pocket missal, there are suggested readings for every memorial day. It says that either these or the reading for the current ferial day are to be used at Mass. In some cases, when the saint is actually mentioned in the readings (Biblical saints), that reading has to be read, but otherwise it seems that the parish priest can choose freely if he wants to use the lectionary for the proper of saints or the ordinary weekday lectionary. In the newest Ordo for my diocese (Stockholm, Sweden), however, it states that the readings of the ordinary weekday lectionary aren’t to be interruptet unless there is a grave reason. And on EWTN, for instance, the ordinary weekday lectionary is always used. My parish priest, however, always uses the lectionary of the proper of saints when there is a special reading suggested, thus interrupting the ordinary weekday lectionary readings on every memorial day. Which is correct? And if the lectionary of the proper of saints isn’t meant to be used at all on memorial days, how come almost all saints have their own readings?
A choice is given to the priest, but there is guidance in this choice.
Parts of the 2002 General Instruction of the Roman Missal that support the choice not to use the Memorial readings are:
"357. … For memorials of Saints, unless strictly proper readings are given, the readings assigned for the weekday are customarily used. In certain cases, readings are provided that highlight some particular aspect of the spiritual life or activity of the Saint. The use of such readings is not to be insisted upon, unless a pastoral reason suggests it.
- In the Lectionary for weekdays, readings are provided for each day of every week throughout the entire year; as a result, these readings are for the most part to be used on the days to which they are assigned, unless there occurs a solemnity, feast, or memorial that has its own proper New Testament readings, that is to say, readings in which mention is made of the Saint being celebrated."
Similar sentiments are expressed in the 1981 Introduction to the Lectionary for Mass:
“4 Weekday readings
82. The arrangement of weekday readings provides texts for every day of the week throughout the year. In most cases, therefore, these readings are to be used on their assigned days, unless a solemnity, feast, or memorial with proper readings occurs.
[footnote 107: See (1975) General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no 319.]
The one using the Order of Readings for weekdays must check to see whether one reading or another from the same biblical book will have to be omitted because of some celebration occurring during the week. With the plan of readings for the entire week in mind, the priest in that case arranges to omit the less significant selections or suitably combines them with other readings, if they contribute to an integral view of a particular theme.
5 Celebrations of the saints
83. When they exist, proper readings are given for celebrations of the saints, that is, biblical passages about the saint or the event in the saint’s life that the Mass is celebrating. Even in the case of a memorial these readings must take the place of the weekday readings for the same day. This Order of Readings makes explicit note of every case of proper readings on a memorial. In some cases there are accommodated readings, those, namely, that bring out some particular aspect of a saint’s spiritual life or apostolate. Use of such readings does not seem binding, except for compelling pastoral reasons. For the most part references are given to readings in the Commons in order to facilitate choice. But these are merely suggestions: in place of an accommodated reading or the particular reading proposed from a Common, any other reading from the Commons referred to may be selected. The first concern of a priest celebrating with a congregation is the spiritual benefit of the faithful and he will be careful not to impose his personal preference on them. Above all he will make sure not to omit too often or needlessly the readings assigned for each day in the weekday Lectionary: the Church’s desire is to provide the faithful with a richer share at the table of God’s word.
[footnote 108: See (1975) General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no 316© Vatican Council II, Constitution on the Liturgy, no. 51. ]
There are also general readings, that is, those placed in the Commons either for some determined class of saints (martyrs, virgins, pastors, etc.) or for the saints in generaL Because in these cases several texts are listed for the same reading, it will be up to the priest to choose the one best suited to the congregation. In all celebrations of saints the readings may be taken not only from the Commons to which the references are given in each case, but also from the Common of Holy Men and Women, whenever there is special reason for doing so.”