A total of 19 seminarians at The Saint Paul Seminary are taking an important step toward priestly ordination by being installed as lectors in 2022.
Like the lay lectors Catholics are accustomed to at Sunday Mass, seminarians who have been installed as lectors proclaim the readings from Scripture, except for the Gospel. They also recite the Psalms, present the general intercessions when there is no deacon, and direct the singing and participation of the faithful during liturgy.
“Throughout high school and my vocation story, I really was just drawn to reading the Scriptures and receiving a lot from them,” said newly-installed lector Joshua Heywood of the Archdiocese of Omaha. “That was one of the things that really attracted me [to seminary], was to share what I had received from the Scriptures with others. Being installed as a lector is the next great step in being able to do that.”
Said seminarian Randall Skeate of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis: “It’s just a beautiful opportunity to more deeply integrate God’s Word into my life and be prepared to bring that Word to others in ministry.”
Men who are installed as lectors can then go on to become acolytes, transitional deacons and finally priests at their ordination. Becoming a lector doesn’t mean a seminarian has committed to the priesthood, but it’s one of several key milestones on the journey.
During a special Mass on Feb. 15 at The Saint Paul Seminary Saint Mary’s Chapel, new Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Williams celebrated the installation of 13 men from six different dioceses.
“There are no small steps toward the altar of God,” said Williams, a Saint Paul Seminary alum who was ordained a bishop in January. “This is a big moment.
“There’s something of a fulfillment of God’s Word in [the lectors’] very life.”
Some dioceses choose to have their own lector installation Masses. Four Saint Paul seminarians from the Diocese of Winona-Rochester were installed on Feb. 27, 2022, and two more from Fargo, North Dakota will become lectors there in August.
The 19 men being installed as lectors this year are:
Nicholas Ahrens, Sioux Falls
Martin Chouinard, Hartford
Nathaniel Daubner, Saint Cloud
Benjamin Eichten, Saint Paul and Minneapolis
Mónico Heredia, Boise
Joshua Heywood, Omaha
Mitchell Kendrioski, Hartford
Alexander Marquette, Saint Paul and Minneapolis
Zachary Ochsenbauer, Saint Paul and Minneapolis
Joshua Richards, Omaha
Randall Skeate, Saint Paul and Minneapolis
Gerald Thornton, Sioux Falls
Joseph VanDenheuvel, Saint Cloud
Jordan Danielson, Winona-Rochester*
Isaiah Olsem, Winona-Rochester*
Benjamin Peters, Winona-Rochester*
Timothy Welch, Winona-Rochester*
Jasper Kelly, Fargo**
Justin Reineke, Fargo**
*Installation scheduled for Feb. 27 in Winona-Rochester Diocese.
**Installation scheduled for Aug. 5 in Fargo.