On January 15, 2012 Archbishop Timothy Broglio, archbishop of the Archdiocese of Military Services, installed sixty six men to the Ministry of Lector and I was one of them!
Lector is one of the two ministries that a seminarian is instituted into before ordination to the diaconate. The other ministry is called, Acolyte. Lector and Acolyte are ancient ministries that first appeared in the primitive church. The ancient role of reader and acolyte was much more than the functional aspect during the liturgy. The reader was called upon to share the Holy Scriptures with the whole community, who would have been partially made up of illiterate people. Nowadays, most people are literate, but there is still a real need for the proclamation of the Word of God today so that the Word, which is 'sharper that a two-edge sword' can piece our lives (Heb 4:12).
So what does it mean? Lots of people read at Mass... It isn't so much the functional aspect of the ministry that needs to be emphasized, though it is important, but rather the gift of the Word. The Church has not entrusted me to study the Word, to become imbued with the Word, and to share the Word for "man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Mt 4:4).
Pray for me and the rest of my classmates that we may "take this book of Holy Scripture and be faithful in handing on the Word of God, so that is may grow strong in the hearts of his people. Amen" (Rite of Installation of Readers, Roman Pontifical).
...Thanks be to God.
(Photos courtesy of Christopher Brashears and Brian Buettner)