1. John Lilburne's Letter of 4 July 2000.
2. John Lilburne's Letter of 14 September 2000.
3. John Lilburne's Letter of 13 October 2000.
4. Very Reverend Gerard Dowling's Letter of 25 October 2000.
Tuesday 4 July 2000
Very Rev. Gerard Dowling OAM
Dear Father Gerard,
I am hoping to become a reader at St Patrick's Cathedral. I am no longer a seminarian at Corpus Christi College, but having been instituted to the ministry of reader by the Archbishop on 27 February 2000, I remain an instituted reader.
The Ceremonial of Bishops emphasizes the role of instituted readers: "Whenever necessary, the reader should see to the preparation of any members of the faithful who may be appointed to proclaim the readings from Sacred Scripture in liturgical celebrations. But in celebrations presided over by the bishop it is fitting that readers formally instituted proclaim the readings and, if several readers are present, they should divide the readings accordingly." (CB 31).
I regard the observance of liturgical laws as important in carrying out my ministry. I see the following as particularly relevant:
At present I am a "full time" student, having classes at Catholic Theological College at 6.00 pm on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Apart from this I could be available to read for any of the Masses at the cathedral.
My attempts to make an appointment with you have been unsuccessful. It would be appreciated if you could contact me so we could discuss whether I should become a reader at at St Patrick's.
Thursday 14 September 2000
Dear Father Dowling,
I am writing to remind you of my availability to read at the Cathedral (particularly for the 11.00 am Mass on Sunday) as we discussed on 10 August and I wrote in my letter in July. At the meeting I gave you a copy of page xxix of the Lectionary Volume 1. Here I present further material.
Canon 230, Section 3:
In the General Instruction to the Roman Missal (1975 version) the Functions of the Reader are described, replacing the "Functions of the Subdeacon" in the 1970 version:
On 28 July 2000, a new General Instruction to the Roman Missal was published. These two paragraphs are numbered 194 and 195, and are similar to those above.
The Ceremonial of Bishops, n 31, gives special emphasis to the role of the instituted reader:
I have noticed that some Masses in the Cathedral have no minister. According to the General Instruction to the Roman Missal (1975 GIRM, n 77; 2000 GIRM, n 115) for Mass with a Congregation:
During the week (at least at the 7.00 am Mass) the Alleluia verse is said. According to the General Introduction to the Lectionary for Mass, n 23: "The Alleluia or verse before the gospel must be sung and during it all stand."[Footnote 4: Lectionary Volume 1, Study Edition (Sydney, Collins, 1983) xxiii.] The 1975 GIRM, n 39, is not as absolute: "If not sung, the Alleluia or verse before the gospel may be omitted." This is also in the 2000 GIRM, n 63(c): "The alleluia verse before the Gospel may be omitted if it is not sung."[Footnote 5: Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani - An English Language Study Translation (Washington, Secretariate for the Liturgy, 2000) 15. Latin text: "Alleluia vel versus ante Evangelium, si non cantantur, omitti possunt."] But clearly it would be preferable to have readers who are willing and able to sing the Alleluia.
The cathedral church "should be regarded as the centre of the liturgical life of the diocese"[Footnote 6: Ceremonial of Bishops , n 44.] and "a model for the other churches of the diocese in its conformity to the directives laid down in liturgical documents and books with regard to the arrangement and adornment of churches."[Footnote 7: Ceremonial of Bishops , n 46.] Hence I see it as important to contribute to improving the liturgy there.
I am also writing to Father Portelli about reading at the Sunday Mass. I am most willing to meet and discuss these issues.
Dear Father Dowling,
According to a letter from Bishop Hart, which I received yesterday, Archbishop Pell regards the decision on who reads at the Cathedral as yours.
Thus, if Canon 230.3 is being breached, you are the one to be held responsible.
In deciding whether to allow an instituted reader to read, you may find the enclosed essay of interest. It describes some of the issues and recent history regarding instituted ministers.
I would like to discuss the matter with you again and will ring to try and organise a time for this.
25 October 2000
I acknowledge your second letter to me, and I explain that the absence of a reply is due to the fact that I am really not able to discuss your inclusion as a reader.
Two reasons create this situation. First, we have no vacancies. Second, we already have a waiting list.
So, as soon as there is a vacancy I will be happy to contact you.
Copyright J.R. Lilburne, revised 2 April 2001.