John Lilburne's journal about the ordination of Father Linh Tran, Ecclesia in Oceania and instituted lectors.


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1655 L Sat 24 Nov 2001

This morning I saw the ordination to the priesthood of Father Linh Tran at Saint Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne.

There were some unusual, but encouraging features, of the Mass where the liturgical laws were followed. Firstly, everyone stood for the Gloria, since it was not a solo performance by the choir, but also included the congregation. Secondly, the Communion song was sung during the communion procession. According to the 1975 General Instruction to the Roman Missal, n. 56i "The song begins when the priest takes communion....". This was not perfectly followed, it began shortly after the Archbishop received communion. But it was closer to the liturgical law than the usual practice at the cathedral of waiting until the end of the communion procession to begin the communion song.

Instituted lectors were available but not used. To quote from page 2 of the program:

First Reading
Ms. Lynn Besterwitch

Second Reading
Mr. Trung Tran

... Servers
Seminarians from Corpus Christi College

So the instituted lectors from the seminary were there in the sanctuary, dressed to perform the role of lector. They are instituted lectors, but instead the job was given to others.

I looked at part of the Catholic Worship Book (published by E.J. Dwyer, 1985) n 111

Although all of the faithful are called to share fully and to undertake various roles in the acts of worship in the Church, those lay people who are deputed for the permanent ministries of reader and acolyte undertake special responsibilities.

That is more than the Pope had to say about lectors in his letter to the Church in Oceania. It was distributed by him on the internet on 22 November and I looked through it yesterday. He talks about catechists, lay people, clericalism, seminarians, permanent deacons and volunteers. But I would be more impressed if he included something on instituted lectors and acolytes. The fact that lay people can have a permanent ministry in the Church should be promoted.

The Pope wrote in n. 40: "I make my own the Synod's insistence that greater efforts be made to awaken vocations to the priestly life, and to allocate priests throughout the region in a more equitable way." But before people can be ordained as priests, Canon Law requires that they be instituted as lectors. The ministry of lector should not be suppressed in order to promote vocations to the priestly life.

Copyright J.R. Lilburne, 24 November 2001. Updated 9 October 2002.


Links to other sites:

Kairos report

Pope's Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Oceania