Highlighting the importance of the Bible in the life of faith and the role of lay women and men in sharing the Gospel, Pope Francis formally installed eight men and women in the ministry of lector and eight others in the ministry of catechist.
During Mass on January 23, the Church’s celebration of Sunday of the Word of God, the pope used a revised rite for formally installing lectors, a ministry he opened to women a year earlier, and the new rite for the ministry of catechist, which he established in May.
In most countries, women and men have long served as non-instituted lectors and catechists and even have been commissioned for those roles. But those formally installed in the ministries are recognized as having a specific vocation to leadership in their communities and will serve in what the Church defines as a “stable” manner.
Pope Francis installed six women—from South Korea, Pakistan, Ghana and Italy—and two Italian men in the ministry of lector, telling them they were placing themselves “in the service of the faith, which is rooted in the word of God.”
As they knelt on the marble floor before the main altar, Pope Francis prayed over them and told them, “You will proclaim that word in the liturgical assembly, instruct children and adults in the faith and prepare them to receive the sacraments worthily. You will bring the message of salvation to those who have not yet received it.”
Three women from Spain, Brazil, and Ghana and five men from Italy, Peru, Brazil, and Poland were installed as catechists, and Pope Francis told them they were called “to live more intensely the apostolic spirit, following the example of those men and women who helped Paul and the other apostles to spread the Gospel.”
They, too, knelt before the altar as the pope said, “May your ministry always be rooted in a profound life of prayer, built on sound doctrine and animated by true apostolic enthusiasm.”
Pope Francis gave each of the lectors a Bible and the catechists a crucifix modeled after the crucifix on the crosier regularly used by St. Paul VI and St. John Paul II.
In December, the Vatican released the Latin text of the Rite of Institution of Catechists and said the revised Latin text for the Rite for the Institution of Lectors and Acolytes would be published soon. Bishops’ conferences will translate the texts into local languages.
In his homily, the pope said the 16 lectors and catechists “are called to the important work of serving the Gospel of Jesus, of proclaiming him, so that his consolation, his joy, and his liberation can reach everyone.”
by Cindy Wooden
Image Source: AB/Catholic News Agency