In a message to Italy’s 72nd National Liturgical Week, Pope Francis called for reflection on the lay ministries of lector, acolyte and catechist.
In particular, he stressed the importance of not confusing the common priesthood of all the baptized with the ministerial priesthood of ordained persons. In other words, the Pope asks that these lay ministries are not clericalized and to reinforce the role of the laity—something he had said to the Italian bishops in 2015.
Lay people with authentic Christian formation shouldn’t need a Bishop or Monsignor or clerical presence to take on responsibilities on all levels—from the political to the social and from the economic to the legislative.
In 2021, Pope Francis instituted a new ministry, that of catechist. He also allowed women access to the ministries of the acolyte and lector.