About John Lilburne


Related articles on this site:

2004 Midnight Mass

4 July 2002 Papal Master of Ceremonies on vestments for lectors

Lectors at Pope's Funeral

At the funeral of John Paul II the first reading was proclaimed by a woman, Alejandra Correa. The second reading was proclaimed by an instituted lector, John G. McDonald. He did not wear vestments, but a suit and tie.

According to the Washington Post article:

"During his first year at the seminary, McDonald had been formally "installed in the ministry of lector," McCoy explained in an interview Friday."

Kevin C. McCoy is the rector of the North American College.

According to the liturgical books both readings should have been proclaimed by instituted lectors and they should have worn vestments.

According to the 2002 General Instruction of the Roman Missal: "101. In the absence of an instituted lector, other laypersons may be commissioned to proclaim the readings from Sacred Scripture." Obviously there was not an absence of instituted lectors. John G. McDonald was present. Only men can be instituted as lectors, in accordance with the Code of Canon Law, canon 230. So it was wrong to have someone who was not an instituted lector proclaim the first reading.

The requirement for John G. McDonald to wear vestments is in the General Introduction to the Lectionary for Mass, n. 54:

"During the celebration of Mass with a congregation a second priest, a deacon, and an instituted reader must wear the distinctive vestment of their office when they go to the lectern to read the word of God. Those who carry out the ministry of reader just for the occasion or even regularly but without institution may to to the lecturn in ordinary attire that is in keeping with local custom."

It appears that Archbishop Marini, the papal master of ceremonies, organised the lectors in the same way as the 2004 Midnight Mass. As he said in article I quoted on 4 July 2002:

"The readings are read by lay people. Individual seminaries have rules on how their seminarians are to dress, but in liturgy those who have not yet been ordained to the diaconate are laymen, and they are to dress as laymen."

But in the case of an instituted lector this is not following the liturgical book.

An improvement on the 2004 Midnight Mass was that the deacon received his blessing from Cardinal Ratzinger before picking up the Book of the Gospels. At the 2004 Midnight Mass the deacon was blessed while holding the Book of the Gospels.

It was also good to see the prominent position given to the 2002 Roman Missal, with it being clearly visible being held by an altar server.

By J.R. Lilburne, 10 April, 2005. Title corrected 1 October 2005. I give what I have written on this page to the public domain.

Other sites:

Washington Post, "For a Young U.S. Seminarian, the Reading of His Life" 9 April 2005, page A13, by Alan Cooperman