Underage Lectors

Or perhaps that should be “Underage” Lectors.

My young friend Laura was recruited while in 6th grade to be a regular lector by our then- associate pastor. She had good poise and presentation skills by any adult standard, so I concurred with the recruitment. Three years later, I would put her in the top ten of our sixty or so lectors. She’s good. She prepares. She’s mostly unflappable. She projects a maturity beyond her years.

Thanks for the commentary on the CSW thread a few days ago. I scheduled four of our regular teen lectors for Sunday Masses this past weekend. I requested teacher endorsement of every recruit for the eleven slots not covered. I was mostly happy with the result.

If I were recruiting for a big feast, and not an ordinary Sunday, I would have been at ease with Laura and maybe two or three others. I can probably chalk up a few shaky performances to nerves–not much different from first-time adult lectors. One I think was cocky overconfidence. So I’m not bothered about the possibility I damaged the presentation of the Word. The questionable lectors got the prayers of the faithful.

A number of young people take their faith more seriously than their parents. I’ve known many such people in my nearly twenty years of ministry. I consider it my mission to do all I can to encourage them. I was encouraged to be an organist in my parish when I was in 8th grade. (Interesting, as I had never taken a music lesson in my life.) I declined. I didn’t encounter any like encouragement till I was in college, and by then, most of my Catholic friends had already shifted into inactivity.

My regular readers know I don’t consider this an aspect of liturgical participation. But I do consider involvement in liturgical ministry as an authentic discernment of gifts. People should be encouraged to examine and develop their gifts, spiritual and otherwise. The Church needs a more accurate discernment mechanism for people, especially young people. Unlike most religious and diocesan vocations offices, I think true vocations will arise from the universal call to holiness. And if a person’s abilities for liturgy, formation, or charity are encouraged and developed at an early age, all the better for the Church.

About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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