John Lilburne's journal about the Pope on vocations and the vocation of instituted lector.

 

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1220 L Sat 16 Feb 2002

Today the Gospel begins:

Jesus noticed a tax collector, Levi by name, sitting by the customs house, and said to him, 'Follow me.' And leaving everything he got up and followed him.

On Thursday Pope John Paul II spoke about vocations to the priesthood, which is about "being called". The report concludes with him saying:

If boys and young men see priests busy with too many cares, open to discouragement, ready to complain and careless in prayer and the tasks of their ministry, how can they be fascinated by the path of the priestly life? Yet, if they see in us joy at being ministers of Christ, generosity in the service of the Church, and readiness to assume the burden of the human and spiritual growth of the people entrusted to our care, they will be inspired to ask themselves if this is not, for them too, 'the better portion'.

But before men can be ordained as priests they must be instituted as lectors. This is required by The Code of Canon Law, canon 1035:

Before anyone may be promoted to the diaconate, whether permanent or transitory, he must have received the ministries of lector and acolyte, and have exercised them for an appropriate time.

In other words, before they can have a vocation to the priesthood, they must have a vocation to be an acolyte, a lector and a deacon. As well as being given the example of priests they should also be given the example of acolytes, lectors and deacons.

For lectors, in particular, this does not happen (at least from my experience in Australia). The idea seems to be "Do not talk about it, practice it or collect statistics on it." I have written more about this ministry in Instituted Lectors.

Copyright J.R. Lilburne 16 February 2002.

Links to other sites:

The Pope on priestly vocations at www.vatican.va