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Catholic Dictionary




A movable reading desk of wood or metal to support the sacred books used in liturgical ceremonies. When stationary they are sometimes elaborately decorated; those in English churches were conspicuous with eagles with outspread wings and other massive carvings. Two were frequently used, one on the Gospel and the other on the Epistle side of the sanctuary. Since the Second Vatican Council many churches have separate lecterns on either side of the sanctuary: one for the celebrant and the other for the lector of the Mass. A small folding support, sometimes called a lectern, is often placed on the altar to hold the sacramentary or gospel book during Mass.