ASK THE LITURGIST (25) – Lectern in front of the presider’s seat

– Enrico Finotti

The lectern in front of the presider seat: a problem or a need?

If we consider the symbolic value of the presider’s seat, the lectern that normally stands before it raises some problems:

a. the lectern not rarely appears as a second ambo, especially when two identical lecterns are used for the ambo and the seat;

b. the lectern hides the person of the priest when he is seated, constituting a barrier between him and the assembly and preventing the faithful from seeing the one presiding in the name of the Lord seated with dignity.

It is also true that, in the absence of ministers, without the lectern the priest goes to the altar to read the prayers in the missal, or he himself supports the missal, preventing himself from raising his hands and performing the established liturgical gestures. The thing is not trivial if we want to take care of the dignity of the liturgical actions that are performed at the venue.

Here we see how appropriate the service of the acolytes is, which at least on Sunday and festive Masses should never be lacking. However the difficulty remains for the weekday Masses in which the acolytes are mostly absent.

How to overcome the difficulty? It seems that the only way out is the formation of a group of ministers who guarantee minimum service at the seat and at the altar in every Mass. In fact the problem arises again for the preparation of the ciborium at the “offertory”: without at least one minister you are forced to place the chalice and the paten on the altar table from the beginning of the Mass …. However, if the lectern could not be avoided at all, some precautions should be taken: provide for a slightly impacting shape of the lectern, avoiding for example that it is covered with veils and that it reproduces the structure of the ambo; always remove the lectern after the celebration so that the seat appears in its dignity as an eloquent sign and free from any superstructure.

(From Il mio e il vostro sacrificio. Il liturgista risponde, 2018©Chorabooks. Translated by Aurelio Porfiri. Used with permission of the publisher. All rights reserved)

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