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I know that reading the Gospel at Mass is restricted to ordained folks. But, is it permissible for a lay man or woman to lead a word and communion service and read from the Gospel? Can they lead a different sort of prayer service in a Catholic Church that includes Gospel reading?

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Just as an FYI, Baptists open up the Gospel reading to everybody. Episcopalians delegate the OT, Psalm, and NT to laity, but reserve the Gospel lesson specifically to the clergy. –  Affable Geek Feb 23 '12 at 20:11
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Also, FYI: I've been to churches where woman aren't allowed to get behind the lectern, much less read the Gospel. –  Jon Ericson Feb 23 '12 at 20:48
    
Probably could start another question for this if necessary, but I'd like to see the answer to the same question with the word "When" changed to "Normally, why aren't" –  dotnetengineer Feb 27 '12 at 22:55
    
@dotnetengineer: The Gospel is not read, it's proclaimed. It's the liturgical function of the deacon to proclaim the Gospel, and when a deacon is not available it's delegated upwards to a priest (whose diaconal ordination is still effective) rather than downwards to the laity (who aren't ordained). A real question might indeed be useful -- as might a "Liturgy" tag. –  Andrew Leach Mar 10 '12 at 22:12
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Well, at a minimum, most people read from the Gospel on Palm Sunday and Good Friday (only about four lines which are labeled "[said by the] crowd:"). I think that counts as laity ;-).

As to "communion service", the prayers of an EM with the homebound can be considered a "communion service," and anyone is allowed to read there.

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I forgot about the Passion. We've only got one priest so he pretty much does the Jesus part and there are two other lay lectors functioning as the narrator and other speaking parts. But I'm mainly asking about reading the gospel in a church, in place of a priest. –  Peter Turner Feb 23 '12 at 22:17
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