by Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.

An Introduction to the Lectionary for Mass

Titles of Different but Related Books:

Historical Overview:

Masses for Sundays and Major Feast Days: Three Readings - really five!

  1. First Reading - from the Old Testament; except from Acts of the Apostles during Easter Season
  2. Responsorial Psalm - mostly from the Book of Psalms; sometimes other biblical "Canticles"
  3. Second Reading - mostly from the Letters of Paul, but sometimes other NT Epistles and the Book of Revelation
  4. Verse before the Gospel - usually a direct biblical quotation, but sometimes adapted from a biblical text
  5. Gospel - Year A: Matthew; Year B: Mark mostly; Year C: Luke;  (where's John? used mostly in Lent & Easter)

Masses for Weekdays, Lesser Feasts, and Special Occasions: Two Readings - really four!

  1. First Reading - semi-continuous readings; alternate between OT & NT; on a two-year cycle
  2. Responsorial Psalm - mostly from the Book of Psalms, but sometimes other Canticles; also on a two-year cycle
  3. Verse before the Gospel - first edition had mostly "common" texts; now specifically prescribed texts
  4. Gospel - same each year; semi-continuous readings from Mark, Matthew, Luke, in that order

Readings for Special Masses and Liturgies:

Concluding Notes:

Related Pages:


Main Lectionary Page 1998/2002 USA Edition 1992 Canadian Edition
Links to Other Websites 1970 USA Edition Roman Missal (pre-Vatican II)

Return to the HOME PAGE of Felix Just, S.J.
This page was last updated on April 14, 2020
Copyright 1999--2006