By Timothy Mangatal, Second Year (Diocese of Westminster)
On Saturday 11 March Bishop John Sherrington instituted Elliot Hanson (Cardiff) and myself as readers. Reader, or Lector, is the first ministry a seminarian receives during his formation, coming towards the end of the second year. It marks a new responsibility, not only for reading the Scriptures in Church, but perhaps more importantly a call to catechise and guide others in their understanding of the Scriptures and the sacraments of the Church. To that end Bishop John reminded Elliot and me that we are called to read and meditate on the word of God assiduously.
St Bernard of Clairvaux is a great example of how we are called to make the scriptures our life blood. He would often quote scripture in his sermons. These are filled with allusions to the scriptural text, and profoundly shaped by it. The scriptures were for him his ‘daily bread’ so he thought and talked in their pattern and spirit. His life was soaked in the life-giving word and it transformed him. Lectorate is a reminder of this universal responsibility, that we are all called to live as people of the Word. However Elliot and I are now charged to inhabit this reality in a new and ministerial dimension.
My engagement with the Scriptures stems from childhood. I often read the Scriptures and was fascinated with the relationship between the Old and New Testament. My love for the word of God developed and matured with age, and led me to pursue Theology at university, focusing on Scripture, particularly the Pauline epistles. The daily praying of the Liturgy of the Hours, together with the Scripture courses taught at the seminary, has enabled me to deepen and nourish my faith. Bishop John reminded Elliot and me that the ministry we have received is not for ourselves but is a gift to be shared with the people of God. In our new ministry as Readers we hope to be faithful to that mission. We ask of your prayers as we accompany the Lord on the road to Emmaus – when the risen Lord himself expounded the Law, the prophets and the writings to his bewildered disciples – and tread the road, God willing, to ordination.