I was at a new parish today and the Priest, during the LoW read the Gospel, but two lay people, one of them a woman, read the first and second readings. Is this allowed?
In short, yes.
Yep, lay people can be lectors…even women.
Clergy, deacons and priests, read the Gospel.
If you are writing about the ordinary form of the Roman Mass and if done according to the rules of your diocese, yes. (I can’t speak to other rites and Mass forms.)
In fact, I think in the ordinary form, the first and second readings are supposed to be read by lay people.
No, not “supposed to be,” but certainly, validly, licitly, can be. (I’m a reader . . . and a woman . . . )
This is the section from the GIRM
- By tradition, the function of proclaiming the readings is ministerial, not presidential. The readings, therefore, should be proclaimed by a lector, and the Gospel by a deacon or, in his absence, a priest other than the celebrant. If, however, a deacon or another priest is not present, the priest celebrant himself should read the Gospel. Further, if another suitable lector is also not present, then the priest celebrant should also proclaim the other readings.
It doesn’t say ‘lay person’ but it says lector. (let’s not get into the lector/reader thing :D) A lector is, by definition, a lay person. So it says “should” for the lector and that the priest should only read if a suitable lector is not present.
I remember this being discussed here during the funeral of JPII. The question was, if there are so many priests there, why would lay people be needed for the readings. This part of the GIRM was presented as the rationale.
From the 2002 General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) approved for the USA, which can be accessed from romanrite.com/girm.html :
“99. The lector is instituted to proclaim the readings from Sacred Scripture, with the exception of the Gospel. He may also announce the intentions for the Prayer of the Faithful and, in the absence of a psalmist, proclaim the Psalm between the readings.
In the Eucharistic Celebration, the lector has his own proper office (cf. below, nos. 194-198), which he must exercise personally. …
101. 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. [footnote 86: Cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 24.]”
The 1970 GIRM had things like “66. … The conference of bishops may grant that when there is no man present capable of carrying out the reader’s function, a suitable woman, standing outside the sanctuary, may proclaim the readings preceding the gospel.” (Documents on the Liturgy 1963-1979, Liturgical Press, Minnesota, 1982, ISBN 0-8146-1281-4, page 487.)
Thanks everyone! I’m still precatechumenate and have been to very few masses so bear with me…
According to something I heard from Mike Aquilina, Lectors were considered on the way to Holy Orders in the early Church. Apparently its still that way!
I also read that the phrase “lift up your hearts” and the response was used in the early Mass, and it shows how we are still celebrating the traditions of our forefathers in the faith!
It’s true that on his way to the priesthood a seminarian will be a Lector then an Acolyte, before he is ordained a Deacon. But since Lector and Acolyte are no longer minor orders leading to the priesthood (as they were before Vat. II), but rather are instituted ministries, males who are not seeking to be ordained Priest or Permanent Deacon may be instituted to these ministries. Women may not be.
When there are no instituted ministers, lay people, male or female, may fill the role.