Being newly installed as a lector is a very exciting part of my formation. Sometimes it’s easy to be lulled into the routine of seminary (just like life!), but as a seminarian enters theology, before they are ordained a transitional deacon at the end of 3rd theology, they go through three important steps. The order of these steps vary depending on the seminary one is assigned to, but they are Candidacy, Lector and Acolyte.
Candidacy is the formal recognition of the church to one’s commitment to study for Holy Orders and to be a candidate for such a noble call. This can be done anytime in the summer before first theology through third theology. Here at St. Joseph’s, we receive candidacy in the fall semester of first theology.
The ministry of acolyte is when a seminarian is assigned the responsibility of helping out the priest during mass, as well as during other liturgical celebrations. We receive this ministry during third theology at St. Joseph’s.
The ministry of lector allows a seminarian to “proclaim the readings from Scripture, except for the Gospel, he is to recite the psalm when there is no psalmist, present the general intercessions when there is no deacon, and to direct the singing and participation of the faithful” among other responsibilities. This is slightly different from the responsibility lay people have who are appointed as lectors. As seminarians, we take classes every semester that teach us about the Word of God. It is important for us to have many opportunities throughout our formation to practice proclaiming the word of God so that as priests one day, God willing, we will be able to serve the faithful with abundant knowledge of the Scriptures in a faithful and proper way. Here at the seminary, we are evaluated every time we read at Mass, so that we pronounce words correctly, have good pace, and over all, proclaim the Word as it is envisioned by the Church.
The ministry of lector is something that moves us to meditate every day on the Scriptures, and gives the awesome responsibility to read at Mass. It is an important part of our formation, and a reminder that we are moving even closer to our ordination as priests, God willing.