Announcing the readings

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q:  I am curious about why the New Testament 2nd readings in the lectionary are attributed to St. Paul, St. John, St. James, etc. while the Gospel readings are attributed to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John without St. in front of their names. Thank you.


A:  The short answer is “That’s what it says in Latin.”

When a reader announces the second reading, we hear something like “A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians.” But when a deacon or priest begins the gospel, he says something like, “A reading from the holy gospel according to Mark.”

In Latin the word for “holy” in front of “gospel” is the same word that would be used before the name of the evangelist. It would sound redundant. So Latin puts the adjective in there just once, and the English translation was required to copy exactly what it says in Latin.

In Spanish, however, even after the revised translation of the third edition of the missal, the deacon or priest says, “A reading from the holy gospel according to St. Mark.”

So the results are not consistent across the language groups.