The Ministry of Lector (Reader)
October 16, 2016 |
Today, we will install the lectors of our parish in a liturgical celebration of recognition. We did something similar recently with the Eucharistic Ministers, and we will do it in the future with other ministries. What is the history of the Lectors, in the Bible and in the tradition of the Church? What are the functions of a reader? What is expected from them, and what is the preparation required? In the following, I will try to answer these questions, referring to the book of Celebrations of Installation and Recognition, edited by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (pp. 87-88).
1. History of the ministry
“The Christians continued the Jewish practice of reading the sacred Books publicly (cf. Neh 8:5-9; 1 Tm 3:16-17). The first mention of a Christian liturgical lector (reader) is by St. Justin Martyr (d. about 165). In the early Church, little by little, the readers came to be part of an honourable and dignified class, since they had to be sufficiently educated to be able to read the books in church; in both Eastern and Roman Churches, it became merely a stepping-stone to major orders, and a memory of early days. The Second Vatican Council called for a revision of the ceremonies and texts of the Ordination rites in the Latin Church. In 1972, Paul V1 (1963-1978) abrogated the four minor orders [porter, lector, exorcist and acolyte] and replaced the subdiaconate with lay ministries of lector and acolyte, for lay men and instituted by the diocesan bishop. In practice, this is a parish ministry carried out by those suitably prepared and mandated by the local pastor.”