Readings on a weekday feast

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q:  Does one use all three readings for a feast day on a weekday mass, for example the Feast of the Holy Cross on 14 September 2018? There were occasions when some of us encountered a priest omitting the 2nd reading before the Gospel for a feast day mass. Can a celebrant do that because of time constraint?

Thanks always for your edification on liturgical matters.


A:  You use all three readings on a weekday feast of the Lord if you live in the United States of America.

The Vatican’s Ordo Missæ Celebrandæ and the Latin edition of the lectionary say that on weekday feasts of the Lord such as the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, you choose one reading before the psalm and gospel. But the second edition of the Ordo Lectionum Missæ does not say that. Our lectionary in the US matches that book. But the Vatican’s annual publication of its Ordo keeps saying pick one or the other of the first two readings on those weekdays, which implies that the second edition of the OLM missed the rubric telling you the same.

We don’t have any further permission or documentation on it, so our lectionary and Ordos in the US all still call for 3 readings on those weekdays.

Can a priest omit one because of time constraint? The General Introduction to the Lectionary says, “In Masses to which three readings are assigned, all three are to be used” (79). The third reading may add two minutes to the mass, so it’s hard to see how an argument from time constraint is very strong.