Guidelines for lectors

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: Someone I work with is asking me about guidelines regarding lectors. They have a few people who will sign up to lector and then also be a substitute lector any chance they can, even if it’s at multiple masses in the same day. Obviously, there are others that would like the opportunity to lector when needed, but can’t due to these few people. For example, this past Sunday, the person was scheduled for the 11:00am mass, but a sub was requested for the 8:30am mass; the same person signed up for the 8:30am sub request before anyone else had the opportunity (the Parish uses a software to help with this).  At one time, I know there was a guideline, or maybe a suggestion that a person could only do one thing per mass (lector only vs lector and extraordinary at the same mass), but I was sure if there was something similar for the situation mentioned. A discussion is going to happen, but we thought it would be helpful to have liturgical guidelines, if there are any, on hand for the discussion. I knew if anyone could help me out, you could!


A: It’s good of you to help prepare for a conversation with the person in question. That’s always the best. These quotes may help you:

Vatican II’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy 28 says, “In liturgical celebrations each person, minister or layman, who has an office to perform, should do all of, but only, those parts which pertain to his office by the nature of the rite and the principles of liturgy.” 

GIRM 109 says “if there are several readings, it is well to distribute them among a number of readers, and the same applies for other matters.”

The Introduction to the Lectionary for Mass 52 says, “Whenever there is more than one reading, it is better to assign the readings to different readers, if available.”