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The New Lectionary for Mass

Questions You May Be Asked


  • What is the Lectionary for Mass?

A Lectionary is a book of Scripture readings, proclaimed by the lector, the deacon, and the priest. The Lectionary for Mass is used for the Liturgy of the Word at Sunday Mass. Currently, we are using the 1970 edition of the Lectionary: As of the First Sunday of Advent, 1998, parishes may use an English translation of the 1981 Latin Lectionary, with some further updating.

  • Who needs this book?

Every parish, chapel, and other place where Mass is celebrated should have a copy of the new Lectionary.

  • Why is there a new edition, just now?

In 1981, some additional readings were permitted; the introduction gives practical advice. Perhaps most importantly, the English language used is considered to be somewhat more reverent and more accurate than in the 1970 edition.

  • Is inclusive language used?

The people who worked on this translation did their best to use inclusive language wherever the original Greek text was inclusive. However, these people avoided changing "'he" to "they," for example, because they wanted to remain faithful to the original text. Moreover, this translation continues to use such terms as "Father," "Lord," and "king."

  • Should the lector make adaptations when he or she reads from the Lectionary?

No, this is the official translation to be used. The Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy says that the lector should proclaim this text as it is written.

  • Who authorized this Lectionary?

The American bishops, with the confirmation of the Roman Congregation for Worship, have given their approval for this Lectionary. It is for all the Latin Rite churches in the United States.

(Reprinted from Parish Liturgy, October, 1998, p. 4; cf. Newsletter of the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy, February, 1998, p. 12.)

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E-mail: [email protected]