Let’s take a look at “The Ministries of the Lay Christian Faithful in the Celebration of Holy Mass,” (RS 43-48) a topic which concludes Chapter II’s examination of lay participation and which we’ll cover in this post, plus two more over the next few days.
[43.] For the good of the community and of the whole Church of God, some of the lay faithful according to tradition have rightly and laudably exercised ministries in the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy.[Cf. Code of Canon Law 230 § 2; cf. GIRM 97] It is appropriate that a number of persons distribute among themselves and exercise various ministries or different parts of the same ministry.[Cf. GIRM 109]
This principle has long been adopted by most liturgists I know. On one hand, there’s a judgment on pushing or not in a situation like the one I encountered many years ago. In that parish, a group of parishioners rotated at the 6:30AM Mass by days of the week in the role of “sacristan,” which not only included those duties of setting up, but also of lector, altar server, and one of the Communion ministers.
On the other hand, I find the practice of dividing up the Sunday lector duty among three persons to be most fruitful.
[44.] Apart from the duly instituted ministries of acolyte and lector,[Cf. Ministeria quaedam VI-XII; Roman Pontifical, De institutione lectorum et acolythorum, de admissione inter candidatos ad diaconatum et presbyteratum, de sacro caelibatu amplectendo, editio typica; Code of Canon Law 230 §1; GIRM 98-99, 187-193] the most important of these ministries are those of acolyte[Cf. GIRM 187-190, 193; Code of Canon Law 230 §2-3] and lector[Cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium 24; Inaestimabile donum 2 and 18; GIRM 101, 194-198; Code of Canon Law 230 §2-3] by temporary deputation. In addition to these are the other functions that are described in the Roman Missal,[Cf. GIRM 100-107] as well as the functions of preparing the hosts, washing the liturgical linens, and the like. All, “whether ordained ministers or lay faithful, in exercising their own office or ministry should do exclusively and fully that which pertains to them”.[GIRM 91; cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium 28] In the liturgical celebration itself as well as in its preparation, they should do what is necessary so that the Church’s Liturgy will be carried out worthily and appropriately.
A good, if brief summary of lay liturgical ministry.