Chapter III: Offices and Ministries in the Celebration of the Liturgy of the Word within Mass
1. The Function of the President at the Liturgy of the Word
38. The one presiding at the liturgy of the word communicates the spiritual
nourishment it contains to those present, especially in the homily. Even if he
too is a listener to the word of God proclaimed by others, the duty of
proclaiming it has been entrusted above all to him. Personally or through others
he sees to it that the word of God is properly proclaimed. He then as a rule
reserves to himself the tasks of composing comments to help the people listen
more attentively and of preaching a homily that fosters in them a richer
understanding of the word of God.
39. The first requirement for one who is to preside over the celebration is a
thorough knowledge of the structure of the Order of Readings, so that he will
know how to work a fruitful effect in the hearts of the faithful. Through study
and prayer he must also develop a full understanding of the coordination and
connection of the various texts in the liturgy of the word, so that the Order of
Readings will become the source of a sound understanding of the mystery of
Christ and his saving work.
40. The one presiding is to make ready use of the various options provided in
the Lectionary regarding readings, responses, responsorial psalms, and Gospel
acclamations;  but he is to do so in harmony
 with all concerned and after listening to
the opinions of the faithful in what concerns them.
41. The one presiding exercises his proper office and the ministry of the
word of God also as he preaches the homily. 
In this way he leads his brothers and sisters to an affective knowledge of
Scripture. He opens their minds to thanksgiving for the wonderful works of God.
He strengthens the faith of those present in the word that in the celebration
becomes sacrament through the Holy Spirit. Finally, he prepares them for a
fruitful reception of Communion and invites them to take upon themselves the
demands of the Christian life.
42. The president is responsible for preparing the faithful for the liturgy
of the word on occasion by means of introductions before the readings.
 These comments can help the assembled
congregation toward a better hearing of the word of God, because they stir up an
attitude of faith and good will. He may also carry out this responsibility
through others, a deacon, for example, or a commentator.
43. As he directs the prayer of the faithful and through their introduction
and conclusion connects them, if possible, with the day's readings and the
homily, the president leads the faithful toward the liturgy of the Eucharist.
2. The Role of the Faithful in the Liturgy of the Word
44. Christ's word gathers the people of God as one and increases and sustains
them. "This applies above all to the liturgy of the word in the celebration
of Mass, where there are inseparably united the proclamation of the death of the
Lord, the response of the people listening, and the very offering through which
Christ has confirmed the New Covenant in his Blood, and in which the people
share by their intentions and by reception of the sacrament."
 For "not only when things are read
'that were written for our instruction' (Rom 15:4), but also when the Church
prays or sings or acts, the faith of those taking part is nourished and their
minds are raised to God, so that they may offer him rightful worship and receive
his grace more abundantly." 
45. In the liturgy of the word, the congregation of Christ's faithful even
today receives from God the word of his covenant through the faith that comes by
hearing, and must respond to that word in faith, so that they may become more
and more truly the people of the New Covenant.
The people of God have a spiritual right to receive abundantly from the
treasury of God's word. Its riches are presented to them through use of the
Order of Readings, the homily, and pastoral efforts.
For their part, the faithful at the celebration of Mass are to listen to the
word of God with an inward and outward reverence that will bring them continuous
growth in the spiritual life and draw them more deeply into the mystery which is
46. As a help toward celebrating the memorial of the Lord with eager
devotion, the faithful should be keenly aware of the one presence of Christ in
both the word of God - it is he himself "who speaks when the Sacred
Scriptures are read in the Church" - and "above all under the
Eucharistic species." 
47. To be received and integrated into the life of Christ's faithful, the
word of God demands a living faith. 
Hearing the word of God unceasingly proclaimed arouses that faith.
The Sacred Scriptures, above all in their liturgical proclamation, are the
source of life and strength. As the Apostle Paul attests, the Gospel is the
saving power of God for everyone who believes.
 Love of the Scriptures is therefore a force
reinvigorating and renewing the entire people of God.
 All the faithful without exception must
therefore always be ready to listen gladly to God's word.
 When this word is proclaimed in the Church
and put into living practice, it enlightens the faithful through the working of
the Holy Spirit and draws them into the entire mystery of the Lord as a reality
to be lived.  The word of God reverently
received moves the heart and its desires toward conversion and toward a life
resplendent with both individual and community faith,
 since God's word is the food of Christian
life and the source of the prayer of the whole Church.
48. The intimate connection between the liturgy of the word and the liturgy
of the Eucharist in the Mass should prompt the faithful to be present right from
the beginning of the celebration.  to take
part attentively, and to prepare themselves in so far as possible to hear the
word, especially by learning beforehand more about Sacred Scripture. That same
connection should also awaken in them a desire for a liturgical understanding of
the texts read and a readiness to respond through singing.
When they hear the word of God and reflect deeply on it, Christ's faithful
are enabled to respond to it actively with full faith, hope, and charity through
prayer and self-giving, and not only during Mass but in their entire Christian
3. Ministries in the Liturgy of the Word
49. Liturgical tradition assigns responsibility for the biblical readings in
the celebration of Mass to ministers: to readers and the deacon. But when there
is no deacon or no other priest present, the priest celebrant is to read the
Gospel  and, when there is no reader
present, all the readings. 
50. It pertains to the deacon in the liturgy of the word at Mass to proclaim
the Gospel, sometimes to give the homily, as occasion suggests, and to propose
to the people the intentions of the prayer of the faithful.
51. "The reader has his own proper function in the Eucharistic
celebration and should exercise this even though ministers of a higher rank may
be present."  The ministry of reader,
conferred through a liturgical rite, must be held in respect. When there are
instituted readers available, they are to carry out their office at least on
Sundays and festive days, especially at the principal Mass of the day. These
readers may also be given responsibility for assisting in the arrangement of the
liturgy of the word, and, to the extent necessary, of seeing to the preparation
of others of the faithful who may be appointed on a given occasion to read at
52. The liturgical assembly truly requires readers, even those not
instituted. Proper measures must therefore be taken to ensure that there are
certain suitable laypeople who have been trained to carry out this ministry.
 Whenever there is more than one reading, it
is better to assign the readings to different readers, if available.
53. In Masses without a deacon, the function of announcing the intentions for
the prayer of the faithful is to be assigned to the cantor, particularly when
they are to be sung, to a reader, or to someone else.
54. During the celebration of Mass with a congregation a second priest, a
deacon, and an instituted reader must wear the distinctive vestment of their
office when they go up to the ambo to read the word of God. Those who carry out
the ministry of reader just for the occasion or even regularly but without
institution may go to the ambo in ordinary attire, but this should be in keeping
with the customs of the different regions.
55. "It is necessary that those who exercise the ministry of reader,
even if they have not received institution, be truly suited and carefully
prepared, so that the faithful may develop a warm and living love for Sacred
Scripture from listening to the sacred readings."
Their preparation must above all be spiritual, but what may be called a
technical preparation is also needed. The spiritual preparation presupposes at
least a biblical and liturgical formation. The purpose of their biblical
formation is to give readers the ability to understand the readings in context
and to perceive by the light of faith the central point of the revealed message.
The liturgical formation ought to equip the readers to have some grasp of the
meaning and structure of the liturgy of the word and of the significance of its
connection with the liturgy of the Eucharist. The technical preparation should
make the readers more skilled in the art of reading publicly, either with the
power of their own voice or with the help of sound equipment.
56. The psalmist, or cantor of the psalm, is responsible for singing,
responsorially or directly, the chants between the readings - the psalm or other
biblical canticle, the gradual and Alleluia, or other chant. The psalmist may,
as occasion requires, intone the Alleluia and verse.
For carrying out the function of psalmist it is advantageous to have in each
ecclesial community laypeople with the ability to sing and read with correct
diction. The points made about the formation of readers apply to cantors as
57. The commentator also fulfills a genuine liturgical ministry, which
consists in presenting to the congregation of the faithful, from a suitable
place, relevant explanations and comments that are clear, of marked sobriety,
meticulously prepared, and as a rule written out and approved beforehand by the