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Meeting Christ in the Liturgy
Instruction of the Roman Missal

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65. The acolyte is instituted to serve at the altar and to assist the priest and deacon. In particular it is for him to prepare the altar and the vessels and, as a special minister of the eucharist, to give communion to the faithful.

66. The reader is instituted to proclaim the readings from Scripture, with the exception of the gospel. He may also announce the intentions for the general intercessions and, in the absence of the psalmist, sing or read the psalm between the readings.

The reader has his own proper function in the eucharistic celebration and should exercise this even though ministers of a higher rank may be present.

Those who exercise the ministry of reader, even if they have not received institution, must be truly qualified and carefully prepared in order that the faithful will develop a warm and lively love for Scripture53 from listening to the reading of the sacred texts.

67. The cantor of the psalm is to sing the psalm or other biblical song that comes between the readings. To fulfill their function correctly, these cantors should possess singing talent and an aptitude for correct pronunciation and diction.

68. As for other ministers, some perform different functions inside the sanctuary, others outside.

The first kind include those deputed as special ministers to administer communion54 and those who carry the missal, the cross, candles, the bread, wine, water, and the thurible.

The second kind include:

a. The commentator. This minister provides explanations and commentaries with the purpose of introducing the faithful to the celebration and preparing them to understand it better. The commentator's remarks must be meticulously prepared and marked by a simple brevity.

In performing this function the commentator stands in a convenient place visible to the faithful, but it is preferable that this not be at the lectern where the Scriptures are read.

b. Those who, in some places, meet the people at the church entrance, seat them, and direct processions.

c. Those who take up the collection.

69. Especially in larger churches and communities, a person should be assigned responsibility for planning the services properly and for their being carried out by the ministers with decorum, order, and devotion.

70. Laymen, even if they have not received institution as ministers, may perform all the functions below those reserved to deacons. At the discretion of the rector of the church, women may be appointed to ministries that are performed outside the sanctuary.

The conference of bishops may permit qualified women to proclaim the readings before the gospel and to announce the intentions of the general intercessions. The conference may also more precisely designate a suitable place for a woman to proclaim the word of God in the liturgical assembly.55

71. If there are several persons present who are empowered to exercise the same ministry, there is no objection to their being assigned different parts to perform. For example, one deacon may take the sung parts, another assist at the altar; if there are several readings, it is better to distribute them among a number of readers. The same applies for the other ministries.

72. If only one minister is present at a Mass with a congregation, he may carry out several different functions.

73. All concerned should work together in the effective preparation of each liturgical celebration as to its rites, pastoral aspects, and music. They should work under the direction of the rector of the church and should consult the faithful.


53. See SC art. 24.

54. See SCDS, Instr. «Immensae caritatis», 29 Jan. 1973, no. 1.

55. See SCDW, Instr. «Liturgicae instaurationes», 5 Sept. 1970, no. 7.

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