Print | Share | Calendar | Diocesan Locator
|   No Spanish version at this time
FOLLOW US  Click to go to Facebook.  Click to go to Twitter.  Click to go to YouTube.   TEXT SIZE Click to make text small. Click for medium-sized text. Click to make text large.  
 

Proclamation of the Gospel by the Laity

 

Is it appropriate for a lay person to proclaim the Gospel reading at a liturgical celebration?

Among the duties proper to the deacon is the proclamation of the Gospel (See General Instruction of the Roman Missal, nos. 175 and 212; introduction to the Lectionary for Mass, no. 50; see Ceremonial of Bishops, no. 24). In the absence of a deacon, a priest may proclaim the Gospel (See General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no. 212, introduction to the Lectionary for Mass, no. 49).

In the absence of a priest or deacon, several of the liturgical books make provisions for a lay minister to proclaim the Gospel, most notably Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest and the Book of Blessings. The Introduction to the Book of Blessings addresses the question most directly:

[W]henever a priest is present, it is more fitting that the office of presiding be assigned to him and that the deacon assist by carrying out those functions proper to the diaconate. (no. 18)

Therefore, in the presence of a priest, deacon, or bishop, it is not permitted for a lay person to proclaim the Gospel or indeed to fulfill any of the functions proper to their offices. This, of course, reflects the ancient tradition of the Church as expressed by the fathers of the Second Vatican Council:

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. (Sacrosanctum Concilium, art. 28)



By accepting this message, you will be leaving the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. This link is provided solely for the user's convenience. By providing this link, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops assumes no responsibility for, nor does it necessarily endorse, the website, its content, or sponsoring organizations.

cancel  continue