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Dear catholic.com visitors: This website from Catholic Answers, with all its many resources, is the world's largest source of explanations for Catholic beliefs and practices. A fully independent, lay-run, 501(c)(3) ministry that receives no funding from the institutional Church, we rely entirely on the generosity of everyday people like you to keep this website going with trustworthy , fresh, and relevant content. If everyone visiting this month gave just $1, catholic.com would be fully funded for an entire year. Do you find catholic.com helpful? Please make a gift today. Thank you. Wishing you a blessed Lenten season.

Can a layperson lead vespers?

Question:

Can you tell me if vespers can be led by a layperson? I went to our church for adoration and at that time they held vespers, led by our music director. He and another woman walked up the center aisle, and then he stood at the altar and sat in the priest’s chair. Can you tell me if this is okay?

Answer:

One does not have to be a priest or deacon to lead the Liturgy of the Hours—provided that a priest or deacon is not present. Non-clerical religious have been doing it for centuries. If a priest or deacon is present, he should lead.

Furthermore, while a layperson can lead the Liturgy of the Hours, he should do it from his pew—not from the presidential chair. Nothing should be done that would blur the role of the laity with that of the priest. There is no reason for the lay leader to sit in the chair that is reserved for the priest-presider or to stand at the altar.

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