The Vatican has announced that Pope Francis will confer the ministries of catechist, lector, and acolyte upon lay men and women for the first time in St. Peter’s Basilica on Sunday.
Candidates from three continents will receive the new ministries during the papal Mass for the Sunday of the Word of God on Jan. 23.
Two people from the Amazonian region in Peru will be formally made catechists by the pope, along with other candidates from Brazil, Ghana, Poland, and Spain.
The ministry of lector will be conferred on lay Catholics from South Korea, Pakistan, Ghana, and Italy.
Each of these ministries will be conferred through a rite prepared by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments that will be presented for the first time, according to a Vatican communique issued on Jan. 18.
Related: In motu proprio, Pope establishes that ministries of lector, acolyte are open to women
“Before the homily, the candidates will be summoned, called by name and presented to the Church,” it said.
Those called to the ministry of lector will be presented with a Bible, while catechists will be entrusted with a cross.
In this case, it will be a copy of the pastoral cross used by popes St. Paul VI and St. John Paul II.
Pope Francis established the ministry of catechist as an instituted, vocational service within the Catholic Church last May.
The newly instituted ministry is for lay people who have a particular call to serve the Catholic Church as a teacher of the faith. The ministry lasts for the entirety of life, regardless of whether the person is actively carrying out that activity during every part of his or her life…
… The pope changed Church law in January 2021 so that women can be formally instituted to the lay ministries of lector and acolyte.
In the apostolic letter Spiritus Domini, the pope modified the Code of Canon Law, which previously limited the ministries to lay men.