What is the function of instituted acolytes and lectors in the Catholic Church?
The following applies to instituted acolytes and lectors. These offices historically are looked on as steppingstones towards ordination and thus are not permanent in nature.
A ministry to which a person is specially appointed by the Church to assist the deacon and to minister to the priest. His duty is to attend to the service of the altar and to assist as needed in the celebration of the Mass. He may also distribute Holy Communion as an auxiliary minister at the Eucharistic liturgy and to the sick. An acolyte may be entrusted with publicly exposing the Blessed Sacrament for adoration but not with giving benediction. He may also, to the extent needed, take care of instructing other faithful who by appointment assist the priest or deacon by carrying the missal, cross, candles, and similar functions. The ministry of acolyte is reserved to men and conferred by the bishop of the diocese or, in clerical institutes of religious, by the major superior, according to liturgical rites composed for the purpose by the Church. Women may be delegated to perform some of the functions of an acolyte.
One of the ministries adapted to present day needs in the Latin Church, otherwise known as reader. He functions partially as the subdeacon did previously. He is appointed to read the word of God in the liturgical assembly. Accordingly he reads the lesson from Sacred Scripture, except the Gospel, in the Mass and in other sacred celebrations; recites the psalms between the readings in absence of the psalmist; presents the intentions for general intercessions when the deacon or cantor is absent; and may also direct the congregation in the singing. If necessary he also assumes the responsibility of instructing any of the faithful called upon to read the Scriptures in any liturgical celebration.
Pope Francis’s new document seems to say the offices may be permanent, even though he allows them to be permanently instituted as such, the episcopal conferences may have to decide on this.
Since the motu proprio was dated January 10, 2021, it is still too early to see the actual decisions of how this is implemented.