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Dear Catholic.com visitor: Summer is here, and you may be thinking about a well-deserved vacation, family get-togethers, BBQs with neighborhood friends. More than likely, making a donation to Catholic Answers is not on your radar right now. But this is exactly the time we most need your help. The “summer slowdown” in donations is upon us, but the work of spreading the gospel and explaining and defending the Faith never takes a break. Your gift today will change lives and save souls for Christ this summer! The reward is eternal. Thank you and God bless.

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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