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Non-Catholic Readers at Funeral Mass


May a non-Catholic proclaim the General Intercessions at a Funeral Mass? Often friends or relatives of the deceased are asked by the family to do this but I am not sure that it is correct.

I would suggest that the "Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism," issued by the Pontifical Commission for Promoting Christian Unity on June 8, 1993 can help illuminate this question.

Paragraph 133 of the Directory addresses the question of a non-Catholic fulfilling the ministry of reader at Mass. The Directory makes clear that normally "during a eucharistic celebration in the Catholic Church" the readings are to be proclaimed by a Catholic. The Directory goes on, however, to allow that "on exceptional occasions and for a just cause, the bishop of the diocese may permit a member of another church or ecclesial community to take on the task of reader."

The intentions of the General Intercessions are proposed by "the deacon, another minister, or some of the faithful," (Lectionary for Mass, Introduction, number 30.) I would suggest that the principles established by the Directory for the proclamation of the readings could be applied to the General Intercessions: ordinarily, the intercessions at Mass are proclaimed by a Catholic. As in paragraph 133 of the Directory, however, the bishop may allow a non-Catholic proclaim the General Intercessions according to his own pastoral judgement.

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