A common liturgical rule that almost every community breaks at some point is having a person serve in more than one liturgical ministry within the same Mass. You won’t find any liturgical book that specifically says that a lector, for example, can’t also sing in the choir or be a Communion minister at the same Mass. Yet most liturgy committees understand that it isn’t good practice.
The principle for this rule comes from the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy: “In liturgical celebrations each person, minister or layman, who has an office to perform, should do all of, but only, those parts which pertain to his office by the nature of the rite and the principles of liturgy” (#28).Each member is necessary in the work of the body. If a member takes on several roles, they deprive other members from doing theirs. Click To Tweet
Today, we don’t usually think of liturgical ministry as an “office” like that of priest or deacon. But the principle here is that the liturgy is “hierarchical” in that it reflects the Body of Christ in whom each member has a role to play. Therefore, each member is necessary in the work of the body. If a member takes on several roles, they deprive other members from doing theirs.
Of course a person is capable of serving in more than one role in a liturgy. But the nature of the liturgy calls us to work together as the Body of Christ.
This post was first published in “GIA Quarterly: A Liturgical Music Journal.”